Employee group, Interups Inc to bid for Air India
Air India has been unprofitable since its 2007 merger with state-owned domestic operator Indian Airlines Ltd., and has relied on taxpayer money to keep flying, with the bailouts adding to the pressure on already strained government finances. The remaining 49% will be held by a financial partner, according to Meenakshi Malik, who is Air India’s commercial director. Each employee will have to contribute at least Rs 100,000 ($1,360) toward the bid, she said.Air India has been on sale since 2017 when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet signed off on a plan to sell all or part of the debt-ridden carrier. The government sweetened the deal earlier this year when it extended the bid deadline to Dec. 14 from Oct. 30, saying potential suitors will be allowed to decide how much of the flag carrier’s debt they want to take on as part of the transaction. The rules before that required bidders to take over the carrier’s $3.3 billion of aircraft debt, deterring buyers. A local media report Monday said that U.S.-based Interups Inc. plans to bid with the employees.
Tata Group is also said to have submitted an expression of interest for Air India over the weekend, the Times of India reported, citing people it didn’t identify. Its interest was submitted via AirAsia India, in which Tata Sons Pvt Ltd. has a significant majority stake. Singapore Airlines Ltd., with which Tata Sons operates full-service airline Vistara, won’t be part of the bid in the initial stages, according to the report.