Government invites fresh bids for 100% stake sale in Air India

The government on Monday has invited Expression of Interest for 100 per cent stake sale in Air India (AI). Along with AI, it has also invited interest from bidders for its entire 100 per cent stake in the low-cost international arm, Air India Express and its complete 50 per cent share of ground handling subsidiary AISATS. The total debt of AI and AI Express to be taken on by the new buyer is Rs 23,286 crore. The actual debt of the two entities combined was Rs 60,074 crore. The balance of nearly ₹27,000 crores has been absorbed by the government. The last date for submitting interest to the transaction adviser is March 17 and the result is expected to be known by March 31. Ernst & Young is the transaction adviser. The bid document says that the FDI policy for the sale remains unchanged, i.e. foreign carriers will be able to own 49% stake in Air India. The substantial ownership and effective control (SOEC) clause will also be applicable and will have to remain with an Indian.

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