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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Reports of Tata Group winning Air India bid ‘incorrect’: Govt

Bloomberg had reported earlier that the Tata Group had won the bid for Air India more than half a century after it ceded control of the national carrier to the government.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: October 1, 2021 9:19:57 pm
Industry sources said that if the Tata Group manages to bring Air India under its umbrella again, it could consolidate its airline operations. (File Photo)

The government has denied media reports that the Tata Group has won the bid for Air India. Bloomberg had reported earlier that the Tata Group had won the bid for Air India more than half a century after it ceded control of the national carrier to the government.

“Media reports indicating approval of financial bids by Government of India in the AI disinvestment case are incorrect,” the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management said in a tweet.

Tata Group and SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh in his private capacity had bid for debt-laden state-run airline Air India earlier this month. In December 2020, the government had invited expression of interest for the divestment of Air India. Four bidders had entered the race to take over the beleaguered airline, but Tata Group and Spicejet CEO Ajay Singh were the only ones to make it to the final stage.

A panel of ministers accepted a proposal from bureaucrats, who recommended the conglomerate’s bid ahead of an offer from Ajay Singh, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified as the decision isn’t yet public.

This has been the second attempt by the PM Modi-led government to sell Air India. The Centre had made an unsuccessful attempt to sell the ailing airline earlier in March 2018. However, its expression of interest to sell 76 per cent stake in Air India had no takers at that juncture due to concerns regarding the airline’s burgeoning debt.

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