New Delhi: In a major setback to the Air India disinvestment process, the government said no initial bids were received for the proposed strategic stake sale of the debt laden airlines by the deadline on Thursday.
The deadline for submission of Expression of Interest ended today. "As informed by the Transaction Adviser, no response has been received for the Expression of Interest floated for the strategic disinvestment of Air India," the Civil Aviation Ministry said in a tweet. "Further course of action will be decided appropriately," it added. EY is the transaction adviser for the process.
The government has proposed to offload 76 per cent equity share capital of the national carrier as well as transfer the management control to private players, as per the preliminary information memorandum. The transaction would involve Air India, its low cost arm Air India Express and Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd.
The latter is an equal joint venture between the national carrier and Singapore-based SATS Ltd. Earlier this month, the government had extended the EoI submission deadline to May 31 from the previous date of May 14.
The qualified interested bidders were to be intimated on June 15. As per the earlier schedule, the details of qualified interested bidders would have been known on May 28.
The government would retain 24 per cent stake in the national carrier, the winning bidder would be required to stay invested in the airline for at least three years, as per the memorandum, issued on March 28. The ailing airline's total debt stood at over Rs 48,000 crore at the end of March 2017.
In April, both IndiGo and Jet Airways had said that they would not be participating in the Air India disinvestment process. IndiGo was the first to evince interest in Air India disinvestment when the government had mooted the plan last year.