Steel-to-salt conglomerate Tata group and SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh has been shortlisted for acquiring India’s state-owned airliner Air India, as per a report in The Times of India.
The two contenders will now be asked to submit a binding financial bid after completing a due diligence on airlines books. The due diligence will begin in couple of weeks.
The Tata group, which already has a footprint in the airlines business, has shown interest in acquiring Air India, which at one point of time was under the Tata umbrella. According to earlier news reports, SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh and two other investors were also working out a plan to acquire the national carrier.
Mr. Singh is said to be keen on buying 100 per cent in the airline in personal capacity. He is reportedly backed by a consortium of investors including a foreign fund. The SpiceJet promoter co-founded SpiceJet in 2005 and then sold it to Kalanithi Maran in 2010. He later returned in 2015 to turn around the ailing airline.
Air India RFP in 7 Days?
Business Standard reported that the government may float a request-for-proposal (RFP) for privatisation of the airline, in the next 7-10 days, a move that will help the interested bidders in getting clarity on contingent liabilities of the national carrier.
The RFP is in the approval process and will soon be issued by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), said a government official. It will give details on the current share of the airline in total bilateral rights, besides contingent liabilities due to retired employees.