Air India disinvestment: Modi government to relax rules to attract buyers

The government is all set to dilute the terms and conditions for disinvestment of Air India to generate interest among potential buyers. 

Published: 30th August 2019 02:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th August 2019 09:32 AM   |  A+A-

Air India

Air India. (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The government is all set to dilute the terms and conditions for disinvestment of Air India to generate interest among potential buyers. 

Attempts so far to privatise the national carrier have failed so far as the airline has failed to attract bidders.

However, Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Puri said the new Expression of Interest (EoI) would be able to generate a lot of interest among investors. 

The first meeting of the alternative mechanism set up for Air India will be held soon.

Thereafter, the divestment process will pick up the pace and the new EoI might be out by October, sources claimed. 

Puri said the priority would be to get the best possible deal in the shortest period.

“The government’s determination to privatise Air India is a given fact and it should be a total privatisation. We have to get the best possible deal. There are a lot of interests in acquiring Air India,” the minister said, adding that the government should not be running an airline.

At least 95 per cent stake of Air India will be up for sale while retaining 5 per cent for the employee stock option. 

In 2018, the government had decided to retain 24 per cent stake, a primary reason for not getting potential buyers. Sources claimed the transaction advisor, E&Y, had advised for the relaxation of the rules for divestment attempt. 

Initial bid for stake got no response

On March 28, 2018, the government invited bids, but announced on May 31 that at the end of the deadline for submitting Expressions of Interest, it had received no bids to acquire 76% stake in AI 

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