Air India has constituted a nodal cell at its headquarters in New Delhi to facilitate interaction between various advisors, which have been appointed to assist the airline in its disinvestment process, said an official document.
The Civil Aviation Ministry had told Air India on May 6 that it should prepare 2018-19 financials for itself and its subsidiaries by end of June as the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has decided to speed up the disinvestment process of three of its wings.
During last year’s disinvestment process, which did not succeed, the national carrier had appointed EY as its transaction advisor and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas as its legal advisor. It is not clear if the same set of advisors would be assisting the airline in its disinvestment process this year.
An order issued by the national carrier on May 31, said, “For taking forward the process of disinvestment of Air India Limited it has been decided to constitute a nodal cell in Airlines House, to facilitate the interaction between the various advisors appointed by DIPAM to assist Air India in the process of disinvestment.”
“The Data Room (nodal cell) shall be located on the first floor of the Airlines House and shall be fully operational effective July 1, 2019,” it added.
The national carrier has also decided that Aruna Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director (Corporate Affairs), would be the single point nodal officer to interact with various advisors regarding the airline’s disinvestment.
After a botched attempt to sell Air India in May 2018, a panel led by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had decided in June 2018 to scrap the stake-sale plan for the time being. It was then decided to infuse more funds into the carrier and cut down debt by raising resources by selling land assets and other subsidiaries.
Air India has a total debt burden of around Rs 55,000 crore.
As a precursor to the sale of Air India, the Cabinet on February 28 had approved setting up of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) — Air India Assets Holding Limited– to transfer Rs 29,464 crore worth loans of the national carrier and its four subsidiaries.
The four subsidiaries which have been transferred to the SPV are Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL), Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL), Airline Allied Services Limited (AASL) and Hotel Corporation of India (HCI).