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Tatas, SpiceJet chief Ajay Singh put in financial bids for Air India

Tatas, SpiceJet chief Ajay Singh put in financial bids for Air India
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New Delhi: Tata Sons, the holding company of India's largest conglomerate, and SpiceJet chief Ajay Singh are among those who submitted financial bids on Wednesday to acquire loss-making state airline Air India.

Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary of the department that is running the privatisation process, tweeted of financial "bids" being received but did not say how many companies were in the fray.

A Tata Sons spokesperson confirmed that the group has put in a bid for the national carrier.

SpiceJet Chairperson and Managing Director Ajay Singh has submitted a financial bid in his personal capacity, sources said.

Another source said multiple financial bids have been received for the airline. Specific details about the bids could not be immediately ascertained.

The financial bids will be evaluated against an undisclosed reserve price and the bid offering the highest price above that benchmark would be accepted.

The bid will be initially examined by the transaction advisor before the recommendation is sent to the Cabinet for approval. If Tatas emerge successful, this will mark the return of Air India to the Tata fold after 67 years. The Tata Group founded Air India as Tata Airlines in October 1932. The government nationalised the airline in 1953.

Tatas operate a premier full-service carrier, Vistara, in partnership with Singapore Airlines. It was not immediately known if the group put in the bid on its own or through budget carrier AirAsia India. Singapore Airlines was said to be not keen on participating in the privatisation programme as it would only add to Vistara's and its own financial troubles.

"Financial bids for Air India disinvestment received by Transaction Adviser. Process now moves to concluding stage," Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey tweeted. He neither identified the bidders nor said how many bids have been received.

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