Home / Companies / News /  Air India divestment could be delayed due to Covid-19 second wave: DIPAM secy

New Delhi: The divestment process for national carrier Air India Limited could be delayed by a few months due to the ongoing pandemic and also due to processes like physical inspection of assets by potential bidders, Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary of the department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM), the nodal agency involved in the divestment process of the national carrier, said on Wednesday.

Speaking at Mint India Investment Summit 2021, Pandey said that the government was earlier targeting the completion of Air India divestment process before H1, FY 2022 (April-September 2021 period) but 'there could be a little bit of slippage in terms of time'.

"The due diligence process is on. It is however quite a complex process," Pandey said.

"There is also the element of physical inspection that may be involved, in terms of assets. Some international facilitatory movement in terms of travel may also be needed. While the process (due diligence) is on, there could be other technical inspection processes which would have to be organized within this current scenario. So, it is a very dynamic scenario," he said adding that Air India as a company is ready to give all the necessary help to bidders.

Shortlisted bidders for national carrier Air India Limited will have to submit their offer in the next two months as the government hopes to conclude 100% divestment in the airline, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said in March.

So far, Tata Group and SpiceJet's chairman and managing director Ajay Singh, in his individual capacity, have been shortlisted to bid for the carrier, according to media reports.

The government aims to complete the privatization of the national carrier in FY2022.

Pandey said that the divestment is an open process, and EOIs (Expression of Interests) have been received as per the terms and conditions.

"Now, only the bidders which are qualified will move forward for the rest of the transaction," Pandey said that the government is targeting to complete the divestment process by Fy2022.

"However, there could be an issue if the (covid-19) wave continues for a long time," he added.

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