Air India’s disinvestment process may be delayed further. According to news reports. The stake sale process for the ailing Maharaja was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides COVID, the process could be delayed due to like physical inspection of assets by potential bidders, Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary of the department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM), the nodal agency involved in the divestment process of the national carrier, told LiveMint.
The government has extended five times the deadline to submit preliminary bids for the national carrier.
Speaking at Mint India Investment Summit 2021, Pandey said that the government was earlier targeting the completion of Air India divestment process before H1, FY 2022 (April-September 2021 period) but 'there could be a little bit of slippage in terms of time'.
Salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group and US-based fund Interups Inc were among "multiple" entities that put in preliminary bids last week for buying loss-making carrier Air India. Sources told PTI earlier that after assessing the preliminary bids, eligible bidders were allowed access to the Virtual Data Room (VDR) of Air India, after which investors' queries were answered. The transaction has now moved to the financial bidding stage and that the deal is likely to be completed by September this year.
In March, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the government was looking at “another timeline now, what is called data room for prospective bidders to look at... that is opened up, 64 days for the financial bids to come in. After that it is the question of taking a decision and handing over the airline," the Minister of State for Civil Aviation said.
The government has started the process to sell its entire 100 % stake in Air India that has been in losses since it merged with Indian Airlines in 2007.