(Representative image)

NEW DELHI: The pandemic has led to the fourth extension for divesting Air India. Now, interested bidders can place their bids till October 30 instead of the month-end. And, qualified interested bidders (IB) will be intimated by November 20, instead of September 14 as per the third extended deadline.
“The changes as as per request received from the IBs in view of the prevailing situation arising out of Covid-19,” Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) said in a corrigendum issued Tuesday to the expression of interest (EoI) for sale of Air India. The second stake sale process was initiated on January 27, 2020, after a failed bid over two years back.
The government has left nothing to chance in its second attempt to sell off debt-ridden AI. It had allowed NRIs, who are Indian nationals, to own up to 100% stake in the airline without violating the substantial ownership and effective control norms.
AI’s debt-cum-liabilities combined burden is almost Rs 90,000 crore. The government has this time substantially sweetened the sale terms. It has offered for sale its 100% stake in AI and AI Express — instead of 76% in the first attempt — and the entire 50% it owns in ground handling joint venture AI-SATS. Eligibility terms have been relaxed for bidders and they will be expected to take on Rs 32,447 crore of debt-cum-liabilities — essentially current value of 146 aircraft they will be getting — of the total amount of Rs 88,781 crore with the government keeping with it Rs 56,334 crore.



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