Air India Sale: Government Extends Bidding Deadline By Two Months To June 30
An Air India aircraft. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Air India Sale: Government Extends Bidding Deadline By Two Months To June 30

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The government has extended by two months the bidding deadline for Air India Ltd., citing coronavirus' impact on the global economy.

This is the second extension in the deadline since the government restarted the Air India stake sale process on Jan. 27, 2020. The government is offloading its entire shareholding in the national flag carrier.

The move also comes nearly a month after the government extended the bidding deadline for Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. to June 13. The Centre is looking to exit the state-run oil marketing company by selling its 52.98 percent stake.

Issuing a corrigendum to the Expression of Interest for Air India’s sale, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management said the deadline has been extended in view of the "request received from the IBs (interested bidders) in view of the prevailing situation arising out of Covid-19".

While issuing the EoI in January, the last date for bids was set at March 17, which was later extended to April 30. This has now been further extended till June 30.

Also the date for intimation to qualified interested bidders has been extended by two months till July 14, DIPAM said in the corrigendum posted on its website.

"Further changes with respect to the important dates, if any, will be communicated to the Interested Bidders subsequently," it added.

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted economic activity globally with many countries announcing lockdowns to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. The aviation sector has been hit hard by Covid-19 with airlines cancelling international flights and announcing pay cuts for employees.

The Air India and BPCL stake sales are crucial for the government, for it has set itself a lofty disinvestment target of Rs 2.10 lakh crore in FY21. This includes Rs 1.20 lakh crore from CPSE share sales and Rs 90,000 crore by selling stake in public sector banks and financial institutions, as well as listing of Life Insurance Corporation of India.

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