Tata Group conglomerate makes offer for struggling Air India

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NEW DELHI: Indian steel tea conglomerate Tata Group has confirmed that it has submitted an offer to buy the debt-crippled national carrier Air India, which it owned decades ago before the airline’s nationalization. The Indian government has sought to sell its entire stake in the struggling company, setting a deadline for offers for Wednesday after previously failing to secure interest in majority stock.

“We made an offer,” a spokesperson for the Tata group told AFP on Wednesday evening, without giving further details. Tata has already invested in airlines AirAsia India and Vistara. The founder of Indian low-cost airline SpiceJet, Ajay Singh, also submitted an offer in a personal capacity, The Times of India reported. SpiceJet did not respond to an AFP request for comment.

The secretary of the government department of investments and public asset management, Tuhin Kanta Pandey, confirmed that the offers had been received. “The process is now moving into the final stages,” he tweeted on Wednesday. Tata Group in 1932 pioneered commercial air transport in India with Tata Airlines. Once affectionately known as the “Maharaja of the Heavens”, the airline was later taken over by the government and renamed Air India.

But it lost money for more than a decade, taking billions of dollars in debt and losing market share to its low-cost rivals in one of the fastest growing airline markets. , but very competitive. Besides Air India, the government also plans to raise billions of dollars through the privatization of Bharat Petroleum and the sale of shares of a major insurer. In August, New Delhi said it was looking to lease state-owned assets from the private sector to raise six trillion rupees ($ 81 billion) to fix public finances affected by the pandemic and finance new infrastructure. . -AFP


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