Govt extends time till March 6 for bidders to pose queries on Air India sale

New Delhi, Feb 24 () The government has extended the time till March 6 for bidders to pose additional queries regarding sale of its 100 per cent stake in Air India.

The government has issued the first set of clarification on Air India disinvestment answering queries of interested bidders on the 'confidentiality undertaking' listed out in the Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) issued on January 27.

The last date for submission of written queries on PIM and Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) was originally set at February 11, following which the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) on February 21 issued a set of 20 clarifications on the queries raised.

The additional time period for submission of written queries on PIM and SPA is till March 6, 2020, the DIPAM said.

The government in January restarted the divestment process of Air India and invited bids for selling 100 per cent of its equity in the state-owned airline, including Air India's 100 per cent shareholding in AI Express Limited and 50 per cent in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Ltd.

The last date for putting bids is March 17 and interested bidders for Air India should have a net worth of Rs 3,500 crore.

After its unsuccessful bid to sell Air India in 2018, the government this time has decided to offload its entire stake. In 2018, the government had offered to sell its 76 per cent stake in the airline.

Of the total debt of Rs 60,074 crore as of March 31, 2019, the buyer would be required to absorb Rs 23,286.5 crore, while the rest would be transferred to Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL), the special purpose vehicle.

As a precursor to Air India sale, the Cabinet in February 2019 approved setting up AIAHL to transfer Rs 29,464 crore worth loans of the national carrier and its four subsidiaries-- Air India Air Transport Services (AIATSL), Airline Allied Services (AASL), Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) and Hotel Corporation of India (HCI).

Also non-core assets - painting and artefacts - as well as other non-operational assets of the national carrier too will be transferred to the SPV. JD MRMR
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