Amid reports of Indian civil aviation companies being lukewarm to buying Air India, the government says it has received many queries from a number of aviation and non-aviation companies for the flagship national carrier.
The queries have been addressed to EY, the transaction advisor for the sale of Air India, Air India Express, and the flagship’s 50 per cent stake in Air India SATS. The last date to submit queries by interested parties was April 16.
“The transaction advisor has received a number of queries from both aviation and non-aviation companies,” said Neeraj Gupta, secretary at the department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM), told Business Standard. He did not provide further details on the companies.
According to the prevalent practice, the transaction advisor responds to the queries on its own or forwards them to the line ministry – in this case the civil aviation ministry – or DIPAM, if need be. EY will respond to the queries by April 30, the expressions of interest (EoIs) by prospective buyers are to be submitted by May 14, and qualified interested bidders will be informed by the government by May 28.
Another official said a similar response is expected for helicopter services company Pawan Hans as well, in which the government looks to sell the 51 per cent stake it owns. The remaining 49 per cent stake is held by state-owned oil giant ONGC.
The transaction advisor for Pawan Hans is SBI Capital Markets. The last day of queries from prospective buyers is May 14, SBI Caps will have to respond to them by May 28, the last date of submitting EoIs is June 11, and qualified interested bidders will be informed by July 2.
Two of the major Indian airline companies, IndiGo, and Jet Airways, as well as the Tatas, have reportedly ruled themselves out from the bidding race to buy Air India.