The government on Friday extended the deadline for submitting bids for buying 100 per cent stake in Air India till April 30.
The deadline was originally set at March 17.
The government had allowed access to the ‘virtual data room’ of Air India to interested bidders late in February and allowed them further time till March 6 to pose queries.
Home Minister Amit Shah-led ministerial panel on Air India decided on extending the deadline for submission of expression of interest (EoI) by interested bidders till April 30.
While extending the date, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) in a notification said ‘the changes are in view of the requests received from the IBs (interested bidders) and the prevailing situation arising out of COVID-19.’
In January, the government restarted the divestment process of Air India and invited bids for selling 100 per cent of its equity in the state-owned airline, including Air India’s 100 per cent shareholding in AI Express Ltd and 50 per cent in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Ltd.
The government had on January 27 issued the preliminary information memorandum (PIM) inviting EoI for sale of 100 per cent stake in Air India.
On February 21, it issued the first set of clarification answering queries regarding the ‘confidentiality undertaking’.
Interested bidders for Air India should have a net worth of Rs 3,500 crore.
After its unsuccessful bid to sell Air India in 2018, the government this time has decided to offload its entire stake. In 2018, the government had offered to sell its 76 per cent stake in the airline.
Of the total debt of Rs 60,074 crore as of March 31, 2019, the buyer would be required to absorb Rs 23,286.5 crore, while the rest would be transferred to Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL), the special purpose vehicle.