Govt gets presentation on Air India’s valuation

NEW DELHI: Air India divestment has entered its last lap with the transaction advisor Ernst & Young, along with RBSA Advisors making a presentation on the valuation of the Maharaja to the government on Tuesday.
Department of investment and public asset management (Dipam) brass is learnt to have met both the qualified bidders — Tata Group and SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh-led consortia — on Wednesday.
Incidentally, October 15 is an important date in AI history. It was on this date in 1932 that J R D Tata piloted the first-ever flight of Tata Air Services from Karachi’s Drigh Road Aerodrome to Mumbai’s Juhu Airstrip via Ahmedabad on a single-engine De Havilland Puss Moth carrying 25 kg of 4-anna airmail letters. The announcement could be timed around the 89th anniversary of Tata Aviation Service, the forerunner to Tata Airlines and Air India.
“AI divestment is at an advanced stage and the last lap. An announcement could be made very shortly. Selling AI off will be strongest signal from the government that it steadfastly committed to the divestment programme and the recently announced asset monetisation programme,” said a top government functionary, who did not want to be named.
While the state is keen on the winner — most likely to be the Tatas — taking over AI by the year-end, sources say the process could take up to the end of this fiscal. The aviation ministry has asked AI to finalise its half yearly accounts at the earliest.

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