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Friday 6 December 2019
India Air India asks restoration of equity infusion from govt

Air India asks restoration of equity infusion from govt

We have sought restoration of the equity infusion in Air India and have written to the government last week in this regard, a senior airline official said

Mumbai: In a blow to the government’s privatisation drive in aviation, no bidder showed up on the last day of submitting the expression of interest to buy a controlling stake in Air India.
The government had proposed to offload 76% equity share capital of the national carrier as well as transfer the management control to private players, besides the complete sale of its low-cost arm Air India Express and its entire stake in 50:50 joint venture AI-SATS.
With that, the disinvestment of the national carrier, which had kicked off last June following Cabinet approval, seemed to be grounded for now. The proposal will now go back to the group of ministers (GoM) overseeing the process for a possible review of norms.
With the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for 2019, a fresh process may not be easy to roll out, people in the know said, while businesses blamed “faulty guidelines’’ for the flop show.
Meanwhile, Air India has asked the government to “restore” equity infusion in the carrier after it failed to find any takers for its disinvestment.

The loss-making carrier has already received more than Rs 26,000 crore under the bailout package announced by the former UPA government in April 2012.

The UPA government had approved a turnaround plan under which Air India is to receive a total equity infusion worth Rs 30,231 crore up to 2021, subject to meeting certain performance thresholds.

Amid fund crunch, during which Air India also had to defer its staff salaries, the airline borrowed Rs 6,250 crore from various banks between September last year and January this year for working capital requirements and other needs.

The carrier, which has a debt burden of about Rs 50,000 crore till March last year, had been receiving about Rs 3,000-4,000 crore equity infusion on an average per fiscal from the government till FY14. However, after that, the amount was gradually reduced.

For 2018-19, the airline has been allocated Rs 650 crore in view of its now failed disinvestment plan.

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