Air India divestment: Bidding process would be on enterprise value, says Hardeep Singh Puri


New Delhi: The Central government on Thursday (October 29) revised the bidding process of Air India’s divestment. It has decided to ask for bids on enterprise value. Notably, the process will not affect the valuation process of Air India.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that it has been decided to change bidding parameters and invite bid at enterprise value, adding “Bids will now be invited on the enterprise value wherein bids will be sought on both equity and debt.”

Puri said, “It is my expectation that by the time we reach Diwali, and between Diwali and the end of the year, we should be looking at figures of operations under domestic civil aviation which resemble pre-COVID levels.”

According to Puri, the decision to this effect was taken by the Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) on Wednesday following a meeting with the Home Ministry.

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Secretary told ANI, “With COVID coming in, the scenario changed. So, with changed conditions, it was felt that the way we packaged Air India, it may not evince enough interest from bidders. Now, bidder will have to say how much debt he would be able to carry with Air India.”

The deadline for inviting bids was also extended till December 14. Earlier in August, the Centre had issued a notification to extend the deadline for submitting the expression of interest for 100% stake sale of Air India by two months to October 30.

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Notably, this price cap is applicable to all airlines operating in India.

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