The government will soon invite bids to sell its entire stake in Air India, after potential buyers baulked at an initial attempt to divest a partial stake in the national carrier.
“The expression of interest document for Air India will be put out anytime now, at least before the end of this month. The plan is to sell 100% stake in the airline. The proposal needs clearance from a ministerial panel before it is made public,” a finance ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
A sale of Air India is key for the Union government to meet its ambitious disinvestment target of ?1.05 trillion for the year to 31 March. Meeting the target is crucial this year as the government estimates that its corporate tax rate cut will lead to a revenue loss of Rs1.45 trillion.
Debt-laden Air India has been surviving on a Rs 30,000-crore government bailout and has ceded market share to private airlines such as IndiGo and SpiceJet.