Monday, 30th October 2017

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Adanis may bid for Air India

Air India debt totalled Rs 60,000 crore till March 31, 2019

By PTI in New Delhi
  • Published 26.02.20, 1:27 AM
  • Updated 26.02.20, 1:27 AM
  • a min read
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Adani Group’s spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comments. The government is likely to extend the March 17 deadline for submitting bids to buy a 100 per cent stake in Air India and the home-minister led inter-ministerial panel will meet later this week to decide on the new date. (Shutterstock)

Billionaire Gautam Adani’s energy and infrastructure conglomerate is considering a bid to buy Air India and is pouring into bid documents before finalising a plan, sources said.

The government is offering to sell its entire holding in the loss-making carrier along with its entire interest in its low-cost arm and 50 per cent in the ground handling unit.

Sources with knowledge of the development said Adani Group was scrutinising the bid documents and the interest was at a preliminary stage.

Bidding, they insisted, would depend on the due diligence. If Adani bids, it will join the likes of Tata Group, Hindujas, IndiGo and New York-based fund Interups who are said to be considering putting in an expression of interest (EoI).

Adani Group’s spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comments. The government is likely to extend the March 17 deadline for submitting bids to buy a 100 per cent stake in Air India and the home-minister led inter-ministerial panel will meet later this week to decide on the new date.

Interested bidders can now have access to the “virtual data room” of Air India, officials said adding that more queries are expected to come in, which would be clarified by the transaction advisor and the ministry of civil aviation.

The government has already extended the deadline for bidders to raise queries on the proposed strategic sale to March 6 from February 11.

Sources said Adani sees synergy in Air India and its airport operations. It last year won bids to operate six airports in Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Jaipur, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram, and Mangalore.

The deciding factor for Adani to bid for Air India would be the debt and losses. The buyer will have to take on a fixed debt of Rs 23,286.5 crore along with certain identified current and non-current liabilities. PTI

While the privatisation bid document does not place any restriction on Adani from bidding for Air India, Airports Authority of India (AAI) restricts an airline or a group owning an airline to hold no more than 27 per cent in the airports. 

A similar clause restricting airlines or group owning airlines from owning more than 10 per cent in Delhi airport recently resulted in the collapse of the Tata-GIC group’s investment in GMR.