Tatas eye majority stake in Air India

Tatas eye majority stake in Air India
Speculation was rife on Wednesday that Tata Group has evinced interest in buying majority stakes in Air India, following the government’s plans to reduce its share in the flag carrier.

Senior government ministers had earlier said that they were looking at several options, including selling majority stake or reducing its shares in the airline.

On Wednesday, a TV news channel report said that Tata Group, in partnership with Singapore Airlines, could be looking at buying the carrier.

Air India was initially owned by Tata Group, before it was nationalised in 1953. At present, Tata Group has stakes in Vistara, its full-service joint venture with Singapore Airlines, and low-cost carrier AirAsia India, its joint venture with Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd.

The report said that Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran has held informal talks with the government, expressing preliminary interest in buying a controlling stake in Air India with 51% equity.

Officials had earlier said that the Union Cabinet will soon take a call on Niti Aayog’s suggestion to privatise Air India, in which the government is pumping  money to keep it afloat.

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had said that all options, including disinvestment, is before the government to take Air India to a new high.

The talks come against the backdrop of arguments that there is no point in the government pumping in money into Air India as part of its Turn Around Plan and Financial Restructuring Plan (TAP-FRP). Under the TAP-FRP approved in April 2012, the government had committed to infuse equity of Rs 42,182 crore from 2011-12 to 2031-32.
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