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Modi Govt to sell 100 percent stakes in debt-laden air India

Air India is also interested in Air India Engineering Services, Air India Air Transport Services, Airline Allied Services and Hotel Corporation of India

New Delhi: On Monday the central government announced the sale of a 100 percent stake in debt-laden Air India as it issued the preliminary auction document for the strategic disinvestment with the deadline for submitting an expression of interest set as March 17.

Air India might sell a 100 percent stake in low-cost airline Air India Express and 50 percent shareholding in joint venture AISATS, according to auction document issued on Monday.

Management control of the airline would also be transferred to a successful auctioneer.

In less than two years this is the second time that the government has come out with a proposal for selling a stake in Air India, which has been in the red for long.

The center has set March 17 as the deadline for submitting the expression of interest.

AISATS is an equal joint venture between Air India and Singapore Airlines. It provides ground handling services.

Air India is also interested in Air India Engineering Services, Air India Air Transport Services, Airline Allied Services and Hotel Corporation of India.

These sanctions are in the process of being moved to a separate company — Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL) — and would not be a part of the proposed transaction, the auction document said.

According to the preliminary bid document, the debt of Rs 23,286.5 crore would remain with Air India and Air India Express at the time of closing of the disinvestment. The debt which will be remain that allocated to AIAHL. EY is the transaction consultant for the Air India disinvestment process.

In 2018, the center proposed to offload 76 percent equity share capital of the national carrier as well as transfer the management control to private players. However, there were no auctioneers.

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