The government has extended by two months the deadline for placing bids for Air India till October 30 as the COVID-19 fallout has disrupted economic activity globally. The process of stake sale in the national carrier was initiated on January 27. This is the fourth extension given by the government for putting in bids, reported news agency PTI.
Issuing a corrigendum to the Expression of Interest (EoI) for sale of Air India, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management said the deadline has been extended in view of the “request received from the IBs (interested bidders) in view of the prevailing situation arising out of COVID-19”.
While issuing the EoI in January, the last date for bids was kept at March 17, which was later extended to April 30. This was further extended till June 30, and again till August 31. Also the date for intimation to qualified interested bidders (QIB) has been extended by over two months till November 20, the DIPAM said in the corrigendum posted on its website. “Further changes with respect to the Important Dates, if any, will be communicated to the Interested Bidders subsequently,” it added.
COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted economic activity globally with many countries announcing lockdown to contain the virus spread. The aviation sector has been hit hard by COVID-19 with airlines cancelling international flights and announcing pay cuts for employees. The government has already extended the time given to investors to bid for its entire 52.98 per cent stake in Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) to September 30.
After its unsuccessful bid to sell Air India in 2018, the government in January 2020 restarted the divestment process and invited bids for selling 100 per cent of its equity in the state-owned airline, including Air India’s 100 per cent shareholding in AI Express Ltd and 50 per cent in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Ltd.