'Bids for Air India likely to be received by Sep 15'

Financial bids for Air India sale likely to be received by September 15: Govt

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the last date of submission of EOI was extended from time to time

A Special Purpose Vehicle — Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL) — was set up for warehousing non-core assets of Air India. Credit: AFP File Photo

The government expects to receive financial bids for the stake sale in Air India, Air India Express and Air India STATS by September 15 even as it said that there is no likely impact on the national carrier's disinvestment due to lawsuits filed by Cairn Energy and Devas Multimedia.

In written replies to multiple questions on Air India, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Gen VK Singh (retired) said the financial bids are likely to be received by September 15.

Questions were raised by Congress MPs Manish Tewari and Rajmohan Unnithan, BJP MP G S Basavaraj and Trinamool Congress' Mimi Chakraborty.

Singh said the Preliminary Information Memorandum for inviting Expression of Interest (EOI) for strategic disinvestment of government's 100 per cent stake each in Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express, as well as 50 per cent stake in Air India STATS was issued on 27 January, 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the last date of submission of EOI was extended from time to time.

While the last date for submission of EOI was December 14 last year, the Transaction Advisor received multiple EOIs.

Read | Covid claimed lives of 56 Air India employees: Centre

With the disinvestment process, the movable assets are proposed to be transferred to the new owner while immovable assets are being monetised by Air India to offset the debt of Air India Ltd.

A Special Purpose Vehicle — Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL) — was set up for warehousing non-core assets of Air India. Monetisation proceeds of non-core assets were to be used to offset the debt of Air India transferred to AIAHL.

Singh also said reserve prices of 16 properties reduced by 10 per cent by the Oversight Committee after previous attempts to auction it failed.

On Cairn Energy and Devas Multimedia's attempt to attach Air India's assets abroad following arbitration cases, Singh said there is no likely impact of the lawsuits on the ongoing disinvestment process.

"Air India Ltd is a separate corporate entity with its own management and board. The case is being defended by Air India Ltd. The company has appointed lawyers to defend its interests," Singh said.

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