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Tata Sons Wins Air India Bid of 18,000 Crores

Tata Sons was awarded the bid to buy national airline Air India. More than half a century after handing power to the government, the salt-to-software conglomerate made a successful bid of Rs 18,000 crore to re-acquire the airline. The winning proposal included a 50% investment in ground-handling company Air India SATS Airport Services Private Limited, in addition to a 100% stake in Air India and its low-cost affiliate, Air India Express (AISATS).

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The Tata Group currently operates Vistara in collaboration with Singapore Airlines and AirAsia India in collaboration with Malaysia’s AirAsia. DIPAM Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey stated Tata’s special purpose vehicle (SPV) Talace Pvt Limited was the winning bidder.Air India has a total debt of 61,562 crore as of August 31, 2021, of which 15,300 crore will be taken over by the bidder. As a result, a total of Rs 46,262 crore will be transferred to Air India Assets Holding Limited (AIAHL). The government established AIAHL as a special purpose vehicle.

Rajiv Bansal, the Civil Aviation Secretary, stated that the successful bidder will not retrench any employees for at least one year, and that if they are retrenched after that time, they will be granted VRS (voluntary retirement scheme). All employees will receive gratuity and Provident Fund (PF) benefits, he noted. Both Tata Sons and SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh (in his personal capacity) made bids earlier this month. Last month, reports that Tata had won the bid were dismissed by Union Minister Piyush Goyal, who stated that nothing had been finalised at the time. The Tatas and Ajay Singh were the only bidders to make it to the final stages of the race, which included four bidders. Air India has lost over 70,000 crores, and the government is losing approximately 20 crores every day. This was the Modi government’s second effort to sell Air India. The centre attempted to sell a 76 percent stake in the airline in March 2018, but there were no takers due to concerns about the business’s increasing debt.Despite its financial difficulties, Air India still has about 4,400 domestic and 1,800 international landing and parking slots at domestic airports, as well as 900 slots internationally. 

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