In a major policy decision, the GOI will finish the handover of the National Carrier Air India to its buyer, the Tata group, by January 27. The date will also mark completion of divestment of the airline, more than 3 months after the government had issued the Letter of Intent to the group against its winning bid of ₹18,000 crore. The reserve price for the enterprise value of Air India was kept at ₹12,906 crore.
It was Tata Group holding company Tata Sons Pvt. Ltd’s wholly-owned unit Talace Pvt. Ltd. which submitted the bid.
The transaction between the GOI and Tata Group will now be over by the end of January after which the Tata group will be able to exercise full control of the airline, including the low-cost Air India Express. Besides, for Rs. 18000 crore, the Tata Group will also own a 50% stake in Air India’s ground handling company, SATS Airport Services Pvt. Ltd. (AISATS).
Air India’s Director (Finance), Vinod Hejmadi, sent out a collective message to Air India employees on Monday, informing them of the divestment deadline. He wrote, “The closing balance sheet as on 20th Jan has to be provided today 24th Jan so that it can be reviewed by Tatas and any changes can be effected on Wednesday.” He further wrote, “We have done an excellent job till now in providing all support for the disinvestment exercise. The next three days will be hectic for our department and I request all of you to give your best in these last three four days before we get divested.”
Divestment seems to be Centre’s mantra to raise money by selling stakes in several PSUs such as Bharat Earth Movers, Shipping Corporation of India, BPCL, Container Corporation of India, etc. Regarding this, the Centre has already budgeted for collections worth ₹1.75 trillion for 2021-22.