More than a week after the Central government approved Air India disinvestment plan, private airline Indigo on Thursday announced that it will participate in the disinvestment bidding of state owned-airline Air India. The Gurugram based low-cost airline said that terms set by the government would not suit it. Last week, Modi government had proposed to sell 76% shares of Air India. Indigo in a statement said, “From day one, IndiGo has expressed its interest primarily in the acquisition of Air India’s international operations and Air India Express. However, that option is not available under the Government’s current divestiture plans for Air India”. The airline president said that we don’t think we are capable enough to Air India’s international operations and Air India as per terms decided by the government.
The proposed sale will include 100% stake in the low-cost arm of Air India – Air India express. It also includes 50% stake in its ground handling arm – SATS Airport Services. Earlier, Tata Group, Turkey’s Celebi Aviation Holdings have expressed interest in buying a stake in Air India. Singapore Airlines has also said that we are open for initial bids. Centre has appointed London based multinational professional service provider Ernst & Young as the only transaction advisor. May 14 has been finalised as the deadline for the letter of expression. In the same matter, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley held a high-level meeting to finalise the Air India disinvestment plan.
The complete information related to the process has been communicated to the prospective bidders. As per the proposed measures, govt has proposed to retain Air India brand for few more years. Only Indian national to be allowed to control the Air India with a minimum net worth of Rs 5,000 crore can only bid, the lead member shall hold at least 51% of paid up capital. Citing Rs 50,000 debt burden on Air India, the government has favoured disinvestment of loss-making Air India.