The disinvestment of Air India is to enter its second stage on January 5 next year, when the names of the qualified bidders will be announced.
The process has been divided into two stages, as explained by Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola at a press conference. In the first stage, expressions of interest (EoI) were received from interested bidders who will now be shortlisted contingent on their eligibility as defined by the terms in the Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM), reported ANI.
"The strategic disinvestment of Air India is a transparent two-step process. The first process is the submission of 'Expression of Interest', which is bidders showing interest in Air India. It is a confidential process and as of now, multiple 'Expression of Interest' have been received. Their scrutiny process is going on. It will be completed by January 5 and we will have eligible bidders, (sic)" Kharola was quoted as saying by ANI.
In stage II, shortlisted bidders will be given a request for proposal (RFP), post which a transparent bidding process will take place.
Earlier this year in October, the deadline for submitting EOIs was extended for the fifth time to December 14, 2020. The previous deadlines were March 30, April 30, June 30, August 30, and October 30.
While the date to notify qualified bidders is January 5, 2021, interested bidders have also been asked to indicate their interest on the enterprise value (EV) for the national carrier.
The PIM for accepting EOIs was issued on January 27 this year, and offered 100 per cent equity share capital of Air India Ltd (AIL), 100 per cent shareholding in the Air India Express Ltd (AIXL), and 50 per cent shareholding in Air India Airport Services Private Ltd (AISATS) to the bidders.
This marks the BJP government's second attempt to privatise Air India, with the first failed attempt in 2018 when no bidders showed interest in the disinvestment of the airline.