And Air India is sold. Maharaja returned back to its owners after a gap 68 long years. Tata Group won bid to take over the national carrier, the Union government announced on Friday. To acquire the the debt-laden carrier, Tatas will pay Rs 18,000 crore to the government. Out of the total money, at least 15 per cent would go to the government and the rest of the money will help to clear the debt. “Talace Pvt Ltd won the bid to own 100% of government stake in Air India,” Tuhin Kant Pandey, secretary, department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM) announced today.
Tata Sons emerged as the winning bidder with Rs 18,000 crore. The Tata Group outbid a consortium led by SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh, who had bid Rs 15,100 crore to acquire Air India. “Bidders have agreed to all terms and conditions. Five bidder were disqualified as they did not meet the criterion,” the Dipam Secretary said. “The process was carried out in a transparent manner with due regard to confidentiality of bidders.
At present, Air India has a total of 12,085 employees among which 8,084 are permanent and 4,001 are contractual. Air India Express has 1,434 employees. Tata Group to retain current Air India employees for first year, the Union government said. “The current bidder (Tata Group) will retain all the current employees of Air India for the first year. In the second year, they will see who to retain and can also give (VRS) voluntary retirement from service,” added Rajiv Bansal, civil aviation secretary.
The government has earlier agreed to bear the cost of liquidation loss on account of transfer to the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) from company-owned trusts, the inclusion of employees in the central government health scheme (CGHS), and encashment of leaves, according to a report published in Business Standard.
On Air India’s brand and logo, the government said that the winning bidder will have to retain it for five years.
“The next step will be to issue the Letter of Intent (LoI) and then sign the Share Purchase Agreement following which, the conditions precedent would need to be satisfied by the successful bidder, the company and Government. It is expected that the transaction will be completed by December 2021,” the ministry of finance said.
After the much-awaited homecoming, N Chandrasekaran, chairman, Tata Sons Mumbai, said: “At the Tata group, we are delighted to be declared as the winner of the bid for Air India. This is a historic moment, and it will be a rare privilege for our Group to own and operate the country’s flag bearer airline. It will be our endeavour to build a world-class airline which makes every Indian proud. On this occasion, I would like to pay tribute to J.R.D. Tata, pioneer of Indian aviation, whose memory we cherish.”