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Wednesday, 29 April, 2020, 10 : 00 AM [IST]

Government extends deadline for Air India bid to 30 June

The government on Tuesday extended the deadline to submit bid documents for Air India by two months to June 30, given the ongoing nationwide lockdown, reports Asit Ranjan Mishra and Rhik Kundu in Mint.

Though both aviation and oil sectors have been badly hit by the covid-19 pandemic, the Finance Ministry is confident it will complete the privatisation of Air India and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) as it has the full financial year ahead.

Last month, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) had extended till June 13, the last day of submitting expressions of interests (EoI) for selling the government's 52.98% stake in BPCL. This is the second time the government extended the deadline to submit bids for Air India. It had earlier extended the deadline to 30 April from 17 March.

When asked whether the government will prefer to postpone the privatisation of both the public sector enterprises or keep extending the deadlines, a finance ministry official under condition of anonymity said the government would prefer the latter. “There is no hurry. We have time till 31 March next year," he added.

The government in January invited preliminary bids to divest its entire stake in Air India, and the airline’s subsidiary Air India Express along with its joint venture Air India SATS Airport Services Private Limited. The successful bidder for Air India will be required to absorb ?23,286.5 crore of debt after the government transfers Rs63,113 crore of debt from Air India and subsidiary Air India Express ahead of the national carrier’s proposed divestment. The government has sweetened the offer this time around. In 2018, when the government had invited expressions of interest (EoI) to divest a 76% stake in the airline, the acquirer was required to absorb INR 49,000 crore in debt. (Source: Mint)

 
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