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AI’s 76% stake sale plan crashes, other alternatives to be evaluated

We ran a disinvestment process, where we made it very clear what type of bids we were interested in receiving… We asked certain type of bidders with certain bidding criteria to participate.

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Civil Aviation Ministry

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) The Central government has said that a 76 per cent stake sale process of the national carrier Air India has ended, as “no interest” was shown by bidders, however, it remains committed to the strategic divestment for which other alternatives will be evaluated.

“We ran a disinvestment process, where we made it very clear what type of bids we were interested in receiving… We asked certain type of bidders with certain bidding criteria to participate,” said Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.

“No body expressed any interest during that process. So just by that set of those circumstances it is clear that that process right now is over… We have to move forward and we have to consider other alternatives, now as market conditions as industry circumstances change, we will evaluate all those alternatives but that particular specific process for the moment has come to an end, if need be, we can restart that or any other process depending upon the appropriate market circumstances.”

However, the government clearly stated that it is still committed to the idea of Air India’s strategic divestment.

Sinha added: “The government is committed to strategic disinvestment, what the modalities are and the circumstances are, we will have to monitor and evaluate as we go along.”

According to the Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu a few days back the Empowered Group of Ministers set up to look at the — Air India Specific Alternate Mechanism — reviewed the situation.

The minister, who holds the charge of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said: “… Because there was no interest we have decided to review the situation soon. In the meantime to ensure that Air India runs properly a plan is being prepared by the Air India management to ensure that AI continues continues operate efficiently.

On May 31, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said that “no response” was received even during the extended submission deadline for the ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) bids under Air India’s divestment process.

“As informed by the Transaction Adviser, no response has been received for the Expression of Interest floated for the strategic disinvestment of Air India,” the ministry had said in a tweet.

“Further course of action will be decided appropriately.”

The government on May 1 had released a detailed document on clarifications sought by interested bidders regarding the divestment process.

The clarification document outlined that net current liabilities as Rs 88.16 billion (Rs 8,816 crore) and “these will remain with AI and AIXL (Air India Express) as these have been incurred in the course of business.”

“After deducting Rs 88,160 mn from Rs 333,920 mn, the remaining figure of INR 245,760 mn is the debt and liability quantum that will remain with AI and AIXL.”

As per the old timelines, the submission deadline for the EOI bids was earlier extended to May 31 and consequently, the date for the “intimation to the Qualified Interested Bidders” — QIB — which was supposed to have been the next stage was slated for June 15.

It was expected that by August-end, the government will be able to determine the highest bidder.

On March 28, the government had issued a Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) inviting ‘EOI’ for the strategic divestment of AI, along with the airline’s shares in AIXL and AISATS (Air India SATS Airport Services) from private entities including the airline’s employees.

The Central government owns 100 per cent equity of Air India. In turn, the airline holds full stake in Air India Express, while it holds 50 per cent stake in the joint venture AISATS.

Accordingly, it has been planned to divest 76 per cent government stake in AI, 100 per cent in AIXL and 50 per cent in AISATS.

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Sensex sheds over 1,000 points, recovers around 700

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Sensex equity Nifty

Mumbai, Sep 21: Reversing all the gains made earlier in the day, key Indian equity indices slumped on Friday afternoon, with the BSE Sensex losing over 1,000 points.

It touched an intra-day low of 35,993.64 points, against the previous close of 37,121.22 points.

However, it recovered to trade at 36,825.92 points (1.12 p.m.), lower by 295.30 points or 0.80 per cent from the previous close.

On Thursday, stock exchanges were shut on account of Muharram.

IANS

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Man finds insect in cake at Ikea Hyderabad store, Tweets video

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IKEA Cake insect
The photo tweeted by the customer who bought a cake at IKEA's Hyderabad restaurant.

Hyderabad, Sep 21: Swedish furniture major IKEA’s first ever store in India in Hyderabad has again landed in controversy. Weeks after a customer had complained about finding a caterpillar in his biryani, ordered at Ikea’s store in Hyderabad, another customer has said that he found an insect in a chocolate cake that he ordered at the Ikea store.

The customer, Kishore, tweeted on September 12 that he found the insect inside a slice of chocolate cake while his daughter was eating the dessert at the IKEA store. He also posted a video in which an insect can be seen crawling over the chocolate cake.

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has reportedly fined the Swedish furniture major Rs. 5,000 based on Kishore’s complaint.

IKEA on Thursday expressed regret over the incident. “In our Hyderabad restaurant when a customer was eating a chocolate cake which he bought, a fly was seen on the cake which eventually flew away. We regret this and apologise to our customer for the unfortunate experience. We are taking steps to avoid such occurrences,” an IKEA spokesperson said.

This is the second such incident that happened at the Ikea Hyderabad store that was opened on August 9. On September 2, a customer reported a caterpillar in the vegetable biryani supplied to him. Ikea India subsequently took vegetable biryani and samosa off its menu and apologised to the customer.

Read More: IKEA stops selling biryani, samosa after complaint

In the incident of the caterpillar in biryani, the furniture giant was fined Rs. 11,500 by the Hyderabad civic agency.

IKEA opened its first India store in Hyderabad on August 9. It has a 1,000-seater restaurant that serves a wide range of food, from Swedish to Indian snacks.

WeForNews

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Petrol price hiked again

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Petrol Price

Sep 21 :No respite from petrol price hike as petrol on Friday has been increased by Rs 0.9 and was being sold at Rs 89.69 per litre while in Delhi petrol price stands at Rs.82.32 per litre.

Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had blamed international factors for the hike in the prices of petroleum products.

As in Chennai it is being sold at Rs. 85.48 per litre. Diesel prices stood at Rs 73.87/litre in Delhi, whereas in Mumbai it is 78.42/litre.

Meanwhile, a litre of petrol in Chennai was increased by 7 paise to be sold at Rs 85.48.

 

Delhi has the cheapest fuel rates among all metros and most state capitals because of lower taxes. Mumbai has the highest sales tax or Value Added Tax (VAT).

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