Tata Sons confirms it is weighing bid for Air India, may make formal bid by end of this month

MUMBAI: The Tata Group has begun due diligence on beleaguered national carrier Air India and may make a formal bid close to the official deadline at the end of this month. The focus at the moment is to examine business synergies and viability, it is learnt.

Officials said it is too early for discussions around funding or the possible business structure till the due diligence is complete. Confirming the development officially for the first time, a Tata Sons spokesperson said: “Tata Sons is currently evaluating the proposal and will consider a bid after due consideration and at the appropriate time. There is no plan to bring in a financial partner.”

As per provisional figures, Air India’s total debt stood at Rs 58,351.93 crore as on March 31, 2019. The government has sought to make the ailing carrier attractive by reducing the debt and offering 100% stake.

But Tata Group officials said there have been no formal discussions on this yet. The group has two aviation joint ventures. The first is the five-year old full-service airline Vistara, in which Singapore Airlines is the strategic partner (with 49% shareholding). The second is budget carrier AirAsia India, in which Tony Fernandes’ AirAsia Berhad is the partner.

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