Government shoots down reports of Tata Group winning Air India bid

Media had reported that the conglomerate would re-acquire the national carrier more than half a century after ceding control to the government

In 2018 the government had failed to sell 76 per cent stake in the airline after finding no takers | Photo: iStock

A report that Tata Group has won the bid for debt-laden Air India is incorrect, the government clarified on Friday.

Bloomberg had reported that the conglomerate would re-acquire the national carrier more than half a century after ceding control to the government. 

An official announcement is expected in the coming days, it quoted two officials as saying.

However, for now the government has denied the report.

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“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 the loss-making state-run airline earlier this month.

This is the government’s second attempt at selling a stake in Air India. In 2018 the government had failed to sell 76 per cent stake in the airline after finding no takers. This time, however, the government has called for bids for a 100 per cent stake in Air India and Air India Express, and a 50 per cent stake in ground handling company AISATS (Air India SATS Airport Services Private Limited).

The bidding was conducted as part of the Narendra Modi government’s plan to privatise several state-owned ventures.

Also in line are Life Insurance Corporation, state-owned refiner Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Shipping Corporation, BPCL, Pawan Hans and Nilanchal Ispat Nigam.

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