IndiGo, Qatar Airways likely to make a joint bid for Air India

Indian budget carrier IndiGo, which is battling cancellations owing to engine troubles, and Qatar Airways are likely to make a joint bid for ailing Air India, according to a report in The Financial Express.

The Centre is preparing to call for Preliminary Interest Memorandums (PIM) and Expression of Interest (EoI) from interested parties for the flag carrier.

According to the report, the government has clarified that the net worth criteria that bidders must adhere to is likely to be Rs 1,000 crore, calculated on the basis of an existing formula under the Companies Act, before they are allowed to put in bids and access the bid data for the national carrier.

IndiGo is owned by Interglobe Aviation Ltd while Qatar Airways is owned by the Government of Qatar.

In the past, Qatar Airways had shown interest in picking up a stake in IndiGo, but the latter had rejected the offer.

IndiGo was one of the first airlines to openly express interest in purchasing international operations of Air India after the government announced plans for the national carrier’s divestment.

Also read: Did IndiGo ignore A320neo warning signals?

Last week, reports suggested that the government was going to issue an official notification announcing the contours of the sale of Air India soon.

The notification is likely to provide clarity on the airline’s debt, which will be transferred to a special purpose vehicle (SPV).

Reports also suggested that the government is likely to retain a 24 percent stake in Air India. The government had earlier announced of allowing foreign investment of up to 49 percent in Air India.

A consortium of Jet Airways, Air France-KLM and Delta Airlines has also understood to have expressed interest in Air India.

In January, Singapore Airlines, which operates Vistara along with its partner the Tata group, had said it will its keep options open on the Air India stake sale, after the government allowed foreign carriers to own up to 49 percent in the national carrier.

Air India has debt of over Rs 50,000 crore on its books, much of which will have to be absorbed by the government to attract private interest. The EoI will reveal how much stake the government would look to retain in the airline, if at all. It will also detail the number of units it would be split into, before being sold.moneycontrol

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