Govt seeks to appoint legal advisers, merchant bankers for Air India sale

Photo: Mint

The government’s disinvestment arm is seeking the appointment of merchant bankers and legal advisers to help with the sale of Air India Ltd.

In a newspaper advertisement on Thursday, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), under the finance ministry, sought the appointment of at least one legal adviser and two merchant bankers.

DIPAM said the government will also give away the management control of Air India in the process.

“The Government of India ‘in principle’ has decided to consider the disinvestment of the AI Group as a whole or part thereof through strategic sale with transfer of management control,” DIPAM said, in its advertisement seeking proposals by 12 October.

The law firm, it said, should have experience in mergers and acquisitions, takeovers, strategic disinvestment and private equity transaction.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), in a meeting on 28 June, gave an in-principle approval for the strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries.

On 31 August, a group of ministers headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley held a second round of discussions on privatization of Air India and  said the group has cleared the appointment of transaction advisers after the hour-long discussions.

Apart from Jaitley, civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Suresh Prabhu, Piyush Goyal and Nitin Gadkari are part of the group of ministers looking into Air India’s privatization.

The ministerial group is looking into treatment of Air India’s unsustainable debt, hiving off certain assets to a shell company, and strategic disinvestment of three profit-making subsidiaries, among other aspects.

At least three firms—InterGlobe Aviation, Bird Group and Turkey’s Celebi—have formally evinced interest in Air India’s privatization and have written to the civil aviation ministry in this regard.

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This article was first published on Livemint.com