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DIPAM extends time for clarifications on Air India divestment

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New Delhi: The Air India sell-off could be further delayed as the disinvestment department has extended the last date for submission of written queries on the Performance Information Memorandum and Share Purchase Agreement to March 6.

The last date for submission of written queries on PIM and SPA was originally set for February 11, following which the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) on February 21 issued 20 clarifications on the queries raised and expected.

Any delay in the tentatively rolled out timeline would also delay the DIPAM's plan to identify the pre-qualified bidders by March 31 and the financial bids invitation as well. It is expected to take more than 2 months after the selection of the pre-qualified bidders to complete Air India's sale.

The government in January restarted the divestment process of Air India and invited bid for selling 100 per cent of its equity in the state-owned airline, including Air India's 100 per cent shareholding in AI Express Ltd and 50 per cent in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Ltd.

Air India is one of the important divestment target for the current fiscal to reach the huge Rs 2.1 lakh crore target.

After its unsuccessful bid to sell Air India in 2018, the government this time has decided to offload its entire stake. In 2018, it had offered to sell its 76 per cent stake in the airline.

Of the total debt of Rs 60,074 crore as of March 31, 2019, the buyer would be required to absorb Rs 23,286 crore.

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