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Air India disinvestment: Govt to invite bids by end of March; Tata Group, SpiceJet main contenders after consortium of employees disqualified Air India Privatisation

Air India disinvestment: Govt to invite bids by end of March; Tata Group, SpiceJet main contenders after consortium of employees disqualified

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 12 Mar 2021, 11:41 pm

Mumbai/IBNS: The government is planning to invite financial bids for disinvestment of national carrier Air India by the end of this month with the aim to complete the privatisation process in the second part of this calendar year.

It may take three to four months to finish the sale after the evaluation of the bids, said a CNBC TV18.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said in her budget speech on February 1 that the disinvestment of Air India will be completed in 2021-22.

Read: Tata Sons likely to bag Air India deal as govt decides to divest 100 pc stake in the struggling national carrier

Along with its 100 per cent stake in debt-ridden Air India, the government will also divest 50 per cent share Air India Airport Services Pvt Ltd.

Earlier this week, an attempt by a consortium of Air India employees to buy the national carrier failed after their bid was disqualified for the next phase of the disinvestment process.

A Bloomberg Quint report said in a letter dated March 8, Air India Commercial Director Meenakshi Malik informed the employees: “I write to you with a heavy heart on the outcome of our bid to acquire Air India. We have been unsuccessful in qualifying to the next phase of the ‘Disinvestment Acquisition process."

Citing a letter from Ernst & Young LLP, which is advising the government on the sale of Air India, she told the employees that the group failed to meet the eligibility criteria, which required submission of three years of audited financial statements for foreign consortium members and being an appropriately regulated foreign investment fund, said media reports.

The consortium of employees had the backing of a Seychelles-based fund for the bid, informed the Bloomberg Quint report.

Ernst & Young pointed out that the consortium had not submitted the required document and its foreign fund is not an appropriately regulated foreign investment fund as defined in the PIM, said a CNBC TV18 report.

With the consortium out of the race, Tata group and SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh are now the main contenders among the bidders. 

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