NEW DELHI: The government has extended the timeline for
’s divestment by two more months due to the pandemic. The
for submitting expression of interest (EoI) and intimating qualified bidders is now August 31, 2020, (instead of June 30 earlier) and September 14 (from July 14), respectively. The department of investment and public
) on Saturday said the extension is due to “requests received from interested bidders in view of the prevailing situation arising out of Covid-19.”
Due to the pandemic, the deadline for submitting bids was extended from March 17 to April 30, then and now to August 31. Similarly the date for intimating qualified bidders was extended from March 31 to May 14 to July 14 and now September 14. But with coronavirus pandemic leading to massive upheaval globally, AI divestment timelines had to be postponed again.
Airlines globally are fighting for survival and many countries are supporting their carriers financially to help survive the unprecedented impact of coronavirus — which is being described as the biggest blow to the industry ever. Airlines and groups seen as likely bidders for AI are now facing severe headwinds themselves.
The government has left nothing to chance in its second attempt to sell off debt-ridden AI. It had allowed NRIs, who are Indian nationals, to own up to 100% stake in the airline without violating the substantial ownership and effective control (SOEC) norms.
AI’s debt-cum-liabilities combined burden is almost Rs 90,000 crore. The government has this time substantially sweetened the sale terms.
It has offered for sale its 100% stake in AI and
— instead of 76% in the first attempt — and the entire 50% it owns in ground handling joint venture AI-SATS. Eligibility terms have been relaxed for bidders and they will be expected to take on Rs 32,447 crore of debt-cum-liabilities — essentially current value of 146 aircraft they will be getting — of the total amount of Rs 88,781 crore with the government keeping with it Rs 56,334 crore.