The government has invited bids for a 76 per cent stake sale in the ailing flag carrier Air India and even though the announcement was widely expected, questions are being raised over the decision to retain a 24 per cent ownership. "The balance debt shall be allocated to Air India Asset Holding which is 100% owned by the Government of India subject to receipt of requisite approvals from lenders and regulators, as applicable".
"Maruti today is nearly a Rs 3-lakh crore company and it is Indian wealth and the same thing would happen in Air India", he said.
However, companies with net zero or negative worth could also participate, provided they form a consortium whose collective worth is Rs 5,000 crore.
Days after Air India's new route connecting New Delhi and Tel Aviv via Saudi airspace was hailed as a historic breakthrough in geo-political relations, Israel's national airline El Al reportedly is seeking cancellation of the Air India's new route.
Further, the new owners of Air India would immediately get a 12.2% domestic market share and a 10.37% share of India's worldwide air traffic market.
Besides IndiGo, aviation industry majors SATS, Bird Group and Celebi have shown interest but in buying Air India's ground handling unit.
Condemning the governments move to privatise Air India, the Left-affiliated All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) today accused the Centre of selling out national assets in the name of ease of doing business.
The Israeli Tourism Ministry has provided Air India with a grant to market its new route as part of a campaign to encourage Indian tourism in Israel.
However, if a consortium is bidding and one of its members is an Indian scheduled carrier, then the condition to meet PPAT will not apply to such member provided their shareholding in the consortium is restricted to a maximum of 51% of paid-up equity share capital of the consortium's SPV.
". There will be some time for those parties who are interested, they will go through the document and come out with the expression of interest", he said.
As tempting a proposition it is to own this 85-year old airline which was started JRD Tata, the risks associated with its purchase are equally high.