Afternoon Voice

Air India fails to attract bids during auctioning: Ministry of Civil Aviation

The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Thursday said that Air India has failed to attract any bids during the process of auctioning.

The Ministry in a tweet confirmed the news stating, “As informed by the Transaction Adviser, no response has been received for the Expression of Interest floated for the strategic disinvestment of Air India. Further course of action will be decided appropriately”.

The bidders were required to submit their expression of interest (EoI) by 5:00 pm earlier today.

The Centre on May 30 had not received any bid for its stake in state-run carrier Air India, aviation secretary R.N. Chaubey said.

“No bids have been received so far for Air India. We will not extend deadline for Expression of Interest (EOI) submission,” Chaubey said.

The deadline for receiving bids has already been extended once from May 14 to May 31.

The government was planning to divest a 76 percent stake in the loss-making state-owned carrier, which has reportedly been laden with debts running into thousands of crores.

After the terms were disclosed, no company has come forward to say it is interested or to reaffirm previous interest.

Jet Airways and rival IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, had already opted out of the race.

However on May 22, Choubey noted that the option of not selling Air India would be available if the bidding amount ascertained is inadequate.

“There are two stages of bidding. The first involves expression of interest in bidding. The last date for this is May 31. The ones who succeed in this will be asked to present a financial bid. We are seeing a lot of excitement about the sale. However, if the required amount is not met, we will decide whether the sale will take place or not,” Choubey told ANI.

On a related note, Air India’s authorised capital is Rs. 300 billion divided into 30,00,00,00,000 equity shares of Rs. 10 each and its paid up share capital is Rs. 267 billion divided into 26,75,30,00,000 equity shares held by the President of India.

Reports suggest that Air India currently possesses Rs 500 billion debt, and had reported a loss of Rs 57.6 billion in March last year.