The plans of Air India’s sale are getting solidified as we move further into the year. As per a Reuters report, the Indian Government on Monday, again remarked that it would be making a move to sell its stake in Air India after it drew no attraction from the bidders in its last attempt to sell the airline. The centre also released a document on Monday which highlighted that March 17 is the deadline for the parties to put out an expression of interest for the airline.
Buyer to Bear Air India’s Massive Debt
However, there is some heavy baggage which the buyer will have to bear if it were to buy the iconic national carrier of India. The biggest of them all is the debt of Rs 232.87 billion ($3.28 billion). There is also another limitation, that the substantial ownership of the airline must remain in Indian hands only and no foreign entity will be able to have a majority stake in the airline. The sale of Air India seems to be one of the agenda of the Indian government as it is planning on divesting money-losing assets to pare off the fiscal deficit in the country.
According to CAPA aviation consultancy India head Kapil Kaul, the offer from the government this time is likely to see interest from the private buyers because the government is handing over the entire stake to the buyer and does not wish to retain any percentage of the airline. As per previous Business Standard report, Hinduja Group and US-based fund Interups have both expressed buying the airline.
Government Hoping for Air India Sale
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri also remarked about the sale process, “We have gone into this exercise, months of planning and preparation have gone into it and this is not the final, final. The bidders are going to get 45 days, they are going to come back to us. It is an interactive process.” He also said that the government would be open to revising, refining and tweaking its views.