Centre relaxes Air India sale terms yet again

By The Hindu

The Centre on Thursday revised bidding parameters for 100% stake sale in Air India, allowing private players to quote an enterprise value (EV) for the airline. Before taking the decision, the government also contemplated on shutting down the airline due to failure in attracting buyers for the disinvestment process, which was first undertaken in 2018.

This is the government’s third effort to woo buyers. After tasting defeat in 2018, in January this year, the government floated a second proposal to sell the airline, offering to exit the airline completely and waive nearly half the debt — ₹29,000 crore of the total ₹60,000 crore debt. It had offered its entire stake in Air India, its low-cost international arm Air India Express, and ground handling arm AISATS.

“There has been a total change in the aviation environment and a large number of airlines are struggling,” Secretary of Ministry of Civil Aviation P.S. Kharola said at a press conference.

“The way we had packaged the Air India sale, we felt players may not evince interest,” he added.

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