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Government Kickstarts Sale Process Of Two Air India Subsidiaries

The government has started the process to sell two Air India subsidiaries, nearly a year after the national flag carrier was sold to Tata Sons Pvt. Ltd.

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, or DIPAM, has initiated investor meetings and roadshows to gauge investor interest in Air India Airport Services Ltd. and Air India Engineering Services Ltd, an official said.

A debt-laden Air India was sold to the Tata Group in October 2021 for Rs 18,000 crore. The actual handover happened on Jan. 27, 2022. But four Air India subsidiaries–Air India Airport Services, Air India Engineering Services, Alliance Air Aviation, and Hotel Corporation of India–and other non-core assets, painting and artefacts, besides, non-operational assets were not part of the deal. These subsidiaries and non-core assets–valued at about Rs 15,000 crore–were transferred to a special purpose vehicle, Air India Assets Holding Ltd.

The government had then said these subsidiaries and non-core assets of the carrier would eventually be sold off. Towards that goal, DIPAM has initiated the exercise of investor meetings for privatisation of Air India Airport Services and Air India Engineering Services.

As of August last year, Air India had a total debt of Rs 61,562 crore. Of this, Tata Group took over Rs 15,300 crore liabilities and the rest 75% or around Rs 46,000 crore was transferred to Air India Assets Holding Ltd.

The government has itself a disinvestment target of Rs 65,000 crore. So far, it has raised about Rs 25,000 crore by selling stakes in state-run entities.

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