Strongly oppose Air India sale: Mamata

As part of the disinvestment process, the government will offload 100% of its stake in Air India Express (AIXL), 76% in Air India Limited and 50% equity stake in Air India SATS Airport Services (AISATS).

As far as the proposed strategic disinvestment process is concerned, Ernst & Young India has been appointed as key transaction adviser to take it forward, according to a Ministry official. Ltd-an equal joint venture between Air India and Singapore-based SATS Ltd.

The national carrier is staying afloat on taxpayers' money under the bailout package approved by the previous UPA government in 2012. The carrier's total liabilities stood at Rs 45,920 crore as of the financial year 2016-17. Following the stake sale, Rs 33,390 crore debt will remain with Air India and will have to be absorbed by the buyer.

As per the plan, the Air India group will be divested as four different entities. It adds that the Central government is "carving out real-estate assets and other businesses which are not integral to the core airline business into a separate Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)".

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The government has stipulated a net worth criteria of ₹5000 crore for parties to bid for Air India.

Besides, the PIM had revealed that "Confirmed selected bidder" will be required to be invested in the airline for at least three years and keep the "substantial ownership and effective control" of both Air India and Air India Express vested with Indian nationals.

However, if the member of the consortium is a Scheduled Airline Operator in India, the condition to meet minimum share of net worth or fund requirement will not apply, provided the equity shareholding of such a member is restricted to a maximum of 51 per cent of paid-up equity share capital of the consortium.

Talking about the govt's Air India disinvestment plan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, "Air India's market share today is around 14% while the debt is Rs 50,000 crore while the government has not put in private carriers. This includes strategic privatisation of Air India".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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