AI: Government to Divest 100%
Earlier, the government has issued documents to divest a 100 per cent stake in Air India, Air India Express and 50 per cent of Air India’s stake in ground handling company AISATS. Later, there were reports that they don’t want to divest the profitable ground handling company.
According to the 2019 documents, the buyer was supposed to absorb Rs. 23,286.5 crore of debt of the national carrier and the remaining was planned to transfer to a special purpose vehicle, which floated after the failed sale attempt in 2018.
But they revised the sale proposal and said that they will sell the airline to those who take over the bigger debt burden. The airline had a total debt of Rs 60,074 crore as of March 2019, but it would have gone up substantially during the period affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
Shortlisted Buyers May Get Time Till June
Pawan Hans Attracts Bidders
The Centre is also pushing to divest helicopter service company Pawan Hans, a Mini Ratna-I category PSU. The government said it had received “multiple expressions of interest (EoIs)” for privatisation of national helicopter carrier Pawan Hans, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey said on Thursday. The official, however, did not reveal the name of bidders.
The department, which deals with all matters related to disinvestment of equity in central public sector undertakings, said that the transaction will now move to the second stage, Business Today reported.
The deadline for submission of EoIs for Pawan Hans was January 19. In a bid to exit from the chopper operations business, the government in December last year issued a fresh bid document for strategic disinvestment in Pawan Hans. The government intends to sell 51 per cent stake in the mini-Ratna PSU. The remaining 49 per cent stake in the carrier is owned by oil major ONGC.
In the Union Budget 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that disinvestment of state-owned Air India and Pawan Hans would be completed in 2021-22.
The Business Today said in an article that the government targets to raise Rs 1.75 lakh crore from disinvestment in 2021-22. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said in the budget speech that strategic disinvestment of BPCL, Air India, Shipping Corporation of India, Container Corporation of India, IDBI Bank, BEML, Pawan Hans, Neelachal Ispat Nigam Limited, among others, would be completed in 2021-22.