Indian government’s disinvestment from Air India plan enters the final stage as it receives financial bids for the flag carrier’s privatization.

Tuhin Kanta Pandey, the secretary of the Indian Finance Ministry, announced on social media that the local Transaction Advisory has received financial bids, moving Air India disinvestment process to its final stage. 

“Financial bids for Air India disinvestment received by Transaction Adviser,” Tuhin Kanta Pandey posted on social media on September 15, 2021. “Process now moves to conclude stage.” 

Even though the government has not disclosed the exact list of bidders, it is speculated that Tata Sons, the holding company of the $113 billion “salt-to-software” conglomerate, and Ajay Singh, the CEO of Indian low-cost airline SpiceJet, are the ones who have submitted bids for the loss-making air carrier.

Air India sale was initiated in January 2020, when the Indian government announced the sale of 100% of the airline's equity share capital. The initial deadline for bidding was set to expire in March 2020, but due to the global pandemic, it was extended multiple times and was finally closed only on December 29, 2020.

Air India has been on sale since 2017. However, its sale has yet to be finalized.  

The government hoped to close the disinvestment by March 2021 but failed to follow its plan as bidders were only given access to the virtual data room (VDR) in January 2021. Due to prolonged bidding, the privatization was postponed to the next financial year of 2022.

The saga of Air India sale might not end in FY2021. The government of India might move the process to 2022.