The Centre on Wednesday issued a preliminary information memorandum on the strategic disinvestment of debt-ridden Air India, Business Standard reported. The government has invited bids to divest 76% stake in the airline through transfer of management, control, and sale of the equity share capital.
The government has appointed management firm Ernst & Young LLP its transaction advisor to carry out the proposed disinvestment, ANI reported.
The minimum net worth requirement to bid for the state-run airline is Rs 50 billion. The last date for bidders to show interest is May 14 while the bidders who will be shortlisted will be intimated on May 28, Business Standard reported.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday opposed the proposed sale of Air India. “I am sorry to read in the media about the Govt inviting expression of interest for selling Air India, the jewel of our nation,” she said on Twitter. “We strongly oppose this and want this order to be withdrawn immediately. This government must not be allowed to sell our country.”
Air India will be sold as four different entities – the national carrier, its low-cost arm Air India Express and subsidiary AISATS, which handles ground operations, will be one entity, and its regional arm Alliance Air will be another. Air India Air Transport Services Ltd and Air India Engineering Services Ltd will be sold separately.
In 2017, the Cabinet had approved a proposal to privatise the national carrier. A committee chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was set up to chalk out a strategy to sell the government’s stake in Air India.