Govt to close Air India sale by year end

DELHI: The government will allow a private bidder to pick up a stake of 51% or more in Air India Ltd and plans to complete the sale of the airline by December, minister of state for aviation Jayant Sinha said on Friday, reports Mint.

A group of ministers led by finance minister Arun Jaitley will decide on whether the government will retain a stake and its extent, but management control will be handed over to the new owner, he said at a CNBC-TV18 Mint Budget Verdict conclave in New Delhi. Sinha added that the disinvestment of state-owned helicopter services firm Pawan Hans Ltd was also on track.

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The airline will be put up for sale as “four different entities” for which interested parties will be allowed to bid separately, Sinha had said earlier in the day, adding that the information memorandum for the proposed disinvestment would be issued in the next few weeks.

The first company will include Air India’s domestic and international operations, besides Air India Express and Air India SATS. The second will comprise its engineering arm, the third ground handling and the fourth Alliance Air.

The memorandum will lay out details about various aspects of the plan, including what will be available for bidding, assets and how much stake the government will own, said Sinha.

It will also stipulate whether or not the new buyer will have to retain the Air India brand name, among other things.


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