India to privatize 76% of Air India
On March 28, 2018, the Indian government announced intention of selling 76% shares of the national carrier Air India. With the stake acquisition also comes a debt assumption of $5.1 billion. The sale also concerns 100% of the low-cost subsidiary Air India Express, and 50% of the ground management company Air India SATS.
The government had been bailing out the company but never managed to make it profitable. It received a public investment of around $4 billion in the last five years. Three of the six subsidiaries from Air India are in deficit.
Several companies have already shown interest for some of Air India operations, mainly of its international routes. The low-cost rival IndiGo is expected to make an offer, as it could acquire certain slots which were previously almost impossible to get. Last year, the company had already expressed its ambitions in an investor conference. Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY) could also make an offer. However, the government will keep the rights over the brand Air India and the control of the carrier should remain Indian.
Bidders have until May 14, 2018, to submit their offers
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