Air India may not be sold sans ‘adequate’ bidding price: Aviation Ministry

RSTV Bureau
Ministry of Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey (Photo:ANI)

Ministry of Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey (Photo:ANI)

The government wouldn’t sell Air India if the bidding price is not ‘adequate’, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said on Tuesday.

“The government has the right to sale or not to sale Air India if the bid price is found to be inadequate,” Choubey told reporters here, even as he expressed confidence that ailing airline will fetch a good price.

While the deadline for submission of Expression of Interest (EoI) ends on May 31, the Secretary said the Request for Proposal could be issued after June 15.

In March this year, the Centre had appointed Ernst & Young LLP India (EY) as its transaction adviser for advising and managing the proposed strategic disinvestment of the national carrier by way of transfer of management control and sale of 76 percent equity share capital of the airlines held by the government.

File photo of an Air India aircraft.

File photo of an Air India aircraft.

By the end of December 2018 government plans to close Air India privatisation process.  According to the reports Air India is currently under the debt of Rs 500 billion, and had reported a loss of Rs 57.6 billion in March last year.

According to the bid document anyone with a minimum net worth of Rs 5,000 crore and who posted profit after tax in three of the previous financial years can bid for Air India.  The government would retain 24% stake in Air India, and the bidder who buys the national carrier would have to remain invested in the airline for at least three years.

(with agency inputs)