Tata's Maharaja moment as Air India returns to its fold at last

With this takeover, Air India will be the third airline brand in the Tatas' stable -- it holds a majority interest in AirAsia India and Vistara, a joint venture with Singapore Airlines.

Published: 27th January 2022 05:11 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th January 2022 05:45 PM   |  A+A-

Air India Maharajah

For representational purposes (Express Illustrations/Amit Bandre)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: : Air India is officially under the Tatas again.

A delighted Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekharan expressed his joy at having Air India back in the group's fold after the government made the decision official on Thursday evening.

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey told reporters that Air India was handed over to Talace Private Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of M/s Tata Sons Pvt Ltd, after the the Government received a cash consideration of Rs 2,700 crore from the Strategic Partner. Talace will also take on a debt of Rs 15,300 crore in Air India and AIXL(Air India Express).

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"It is pertinent to mention that following Government’s approval of the highest price bid of M/s Talace Pvt Ltd for strategic disinvestment of Air India, the Letter of Intent was issued to the winning bidder on 11 October 2021. The Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) was signed on 25 October, 2021. Thereafter, Strategic Partner (M/s Talace Pvt Ltd), Air India and the Government worked towards satisfying a set of conditions precedent defined in the SPA including approvals from anti-trust bodies, regulators, lenders, third parties, etc. These conditions have since been met to mutual satisfaction," said the Ministery of Finance in a statement.

The Tata Group also confirmed that it is taking over the management and control of the airline starting Thursday. The transaction covers three entities – Air India, Air India Express (which Talace gains 100% control of) and AI SATS (where Talace will be given 50% of shares).

Air India is India’s flag carrier and premier full-service airline. Air India Express is a low-cost carrier. AI SATS provides a comprehensive suite of ground handling and cargo handling services.

N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons Pvt. Ltd. said, "We are excited to have Air India back in the Tata Group and are committed to making this a world-class airline. I warmly welcome all the employees of Air India, to our Group, and look forward to working together."

Chandrasekaran also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the official handover.

Chairman Emeritus of Tata Group Ratan Tata joined Chandrasekaran in expressing his thanks to the Government of India and its various departments for the successful completion of this important transaction.

The formal handover on Thursday follows the announcement which had earlier been made in October 2021, of the Tata group having been selected by the Government as the new owner of the airline.

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The government had confirmed the 100% sale of Air India to Talace Private Limited, which is a subsidiary of the Tata group's holding company, for Rs 18,000 crore on October 8, 2021 after a competitive bidding process that lasted for more than a year.

The government had then estimated to handover the airline by December-end but the process got delayed by a month. With this takeover, Air India will be the third airline brand in the Tatas' stable -- it holds a majority interest in AirAsia India and Vistara, a joint venture with Singapore Airlines. To note, it was the Tata Group that had founded Air India way back in 1930s before it was nationalised in 1950s.


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