Bloomberg News reported on Friday morning that Tata Sons had won the bid for debt-ridden national airline Air India, citing unnamed sources.
According to the article, a ministerial panel approved a proposal from the salt to software conglomerate. The government began evaluating proposals for the Maharaja Tuesday.
Ajay Singh, the CEO of domestic carrier SpiceJet, had also put in a bid for the airline, alongside Tata Group. The offers were evaluated against an unknown reserve price.
The Tata Group’s acquisition of Air India symbolises the airline’s return to the Tata family after a 68-year absence.
The government argues that rumours that Tata Sons won the Air India bid are “incorrect.”
After it was reported that a panel of ministers accepted a proposal from officials recommending Tata Sons ahead of SpiceJet Limited promoter Ajay Singh’s bid, the finance ministry said on Friday that reports stating Tata Sons had won the bid for Air India were incorrect.
In a tweet, the ministry clarified that “media reports implying acceptance of financial bids by Government of India in the AI disinvestment issue are wrong.” “The Government decision will be communicated to the media as soon as it is made,” it stated.
Bloomberg News earlier reported that Tata Sons have won the deb-laden national carrier and with this Air India will be again flying under the Tata Group after a gap of 68 years.
According to another report, the Tatas have emerged as the top bidder, but the actual announcement will not be made until the Air India privatisation committee, overseen by home minister Amit Shah, meets and provides the final approval.
Tata Airlines was the official name of the airline when it was created in 1932. The aviation business of Tata Sons was listed as Air India in 1946, and Air India International began flying to Europe in 1948. Air India was nationalised in 1953.
This time, the government is attempting to sell the entire share in Air India, a process that began in January 2020.
The process was put on hold due to the epidemic, however it was restarted in April 2021. The deadline for submitting financial bids was September 15.
Air India suffers loss
According to the Air India EoI, the buyer would be needed to absorb 23,286.5 crore of the airline’s total debt of 60,074 crore as of March 31, 2019.
The balance will go to Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL), a special purpose vehicle. Since its merger with domestic carrier Indian Airlines in 2007, Air India has been losing money.
The airline will hand up 4,400 domestic and 1,800 international landing and parking slots at domestic airports, as well as 900 slots at international airports, to the winning bidder.