Air India stake sale: Any decision on bidding by mid-May, says N Chandrasekaran of Tata Sons

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Published: April 13, 2018 9:52:30 AM

Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, on Friday said that any decision related to placing a bid for the state-run carrier may me made by Tata Group in the middle of next month since the deadline for the same has been extended till mid-May.

Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Tata group, Tata group workers, Chairman of tata group, Jamsetji Tata, Tata businesses, latest news on tataNatarajan Chandrasekaran said group is on its way to clean up the balance sheets and Tata Motors and Tata Power. (PTI)

Clearing stand on the acquisition of debt-ridden Air India, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, on Friday said that any decision related to placing a bid for the state-run carrier may me made by Tata Group in the middle of next month since the deadline for the same has been extended till mid-May. “There is a deadline which extends till, I think, middle of May, so I will leave it at that,” he told CNBC TV18 today. The group would also consider if adding another airline to its aviation business would make sense to its business prospects, N Chandrasekaran told CNBC TV18 today. Just a couple of days back Reuters reported citing unidentified sources that Tata Group which was widely seen as a potential suitor for Air India, is unlikely to issue a bid for the state-run carrier as the government’s terms are just ‘too onerous.’ Tata Group already holds stakes in two airline joint-ventures in India.

Sharing future business plans of steel-to-autos conglomerate, Natarajan Chandrasekaran told CNBC TV18 that the group is on its way to clean up the balance sheets and Tata Motors and Tata Power are already addressing their specific issues. Tata Steel is looking to pare down its debt and focussing on extending capacities, he added further. A decision has been taken to expand Tata Steel’s capacity at Kalinganagar. He also added that it’s still to be seen how the group consolidates and synergises 32 holding companies. It is easier to move on some verticals than others, he also said.

Air India acquisition

It was in the month of March that the government finalised the plans to sell 76 percent stakes and offload nearly $5.1 billion debt in the debt-struck national airlines Air India. After the aviation ministry disclosed the new terms of sell-off, no company has shown interest in placing bids to purchase stake in the national carrier. Already, Jet Airways and IndiGo have publicly made exit from the Air India privatisation race.

Among various terms, the government has also stipulated that the winning bidder can’t merge Air India with his already existing business as long as government holds a stake in the airlines. In addition, the buyer would also list Air India and accept the conditions stipulated to protect interests of the employees and limit its ability to downsize staff.

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