Government looks to sweeten Air India sale deal, discusses proposals for prospective bidders

The government has decided to go ahead with the process to divest stake in Air India and is discussing proposals to further sweeten the deal for prospective bidders by allowing some relaxations along the bidding process. However, any significant reduction in debt has been ruled out, government sources told ET.

Senior government officials said there are some options, including allowing interested parties to bid based on the enterprise value, being considered but a significant reduction in debt was unlikely.

“There are a few options on the table (enterprise value). Some relaxations have to be given; restructuring of the transaction will have to take place, since some investors don’t want things to be fixed. Maybe, start with the expressions of interest (EOI) and decide (on the value) before financial bids are closed, but we will have to take a call on that,” said the government official.

The government, which did not get any bids for the national carrier in 2018, called for bids again in January this year to sell its stake in Air India, Air India Express and 50% of ground handling company, AISATS.

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