The government has, for now, decided to suspend divestment in national carrier Air India and will continue to provide funds for its operation, a top official said on Tuesday. Since the airline is posting operational profits, the government does not feel the need to rush for a stake sale, news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) reported quoting the official. A total of 76 per cent stake of the debt-laden carrier was put on sale by the government in March this year but on May 31, when the deadline for bidding ended, Air India failed to receive any interest from investors.
Here are five latest updates on the Air India stake sale and its subsequent suspension:
1) Air India will very soon get funds from the government for its day-to-day operations and will even place orders for a couple of aircraft, the agency reported the government official as saying.
2) “None of the flights go empty. With all the cost efficient mechanism in place, we will continue improving its operational efficiency. There is no need to rush in for disinvestment as of now,” the official said.
3) The government is looking at turning around the company to ensure that it makes profits on overall basis before going in for listing. “Certain conditions have to be met before listing a company. Once Air India fulfils those, we will go in for an initial public offering and subsequent listing,” the source said. As per norms of markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), a company has to post profit in previous three financial years before it can list itself in the stock exchanges.
4) “The focus is on improving operational efficiency. We will continue to boost employee morale, starting from the top level, to better the functioning of the airline. Funds would be provided as and when required,” the agency cited the source as saying.
5) The decision to put Air India stake sale on hold was taken at the high level meeting convened by Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday. The meeting was attended by Piyush Goyal, who has been temporarily given the charge of finance ministry, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and other senior officials of finance and civil aviation ministries. (With PTI Inputs)