The government is working towards announcing a winning bid for Air India by October 15, sources informed CNBC-TV18. The financial bids for the airline are likely to be opened tomorrow i.e. September 29, sources said.
"Tatas are being seen as the front runners for Air India divestment," they added.
Tatas were also the potential bidders when the government tried to sell a stake in Air India in 2001 and 2017.
It's important to note that 85 percent of the bid price will be for Air India debt, while 15 percent will be in cash. Bidders have the flexibility for all cash deal as well.
The proposal to award the Air India bid will need Home Minister-headed GoM's nod.
On September 15, the deadline for submission of financial bids for Air India ended. The government said that it received "financial bids" for Air India.
This time, the government invited bids for strategic disinvestment of 100 percent stake of the government of India in the airline. It also included a 100 percent stake in Air India Express Ltd and a 50 percent stake in Air India SATS. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last date for submission of preliminary bids was extended from time to time. The process was initiated in January 2020.
Meanwhile, Air India posted a net loss of Rs 3,836.78 crore in FY16, Rs 6,452.89 crore in FY17, Rs 5,348.18 crore in FY18, Rs 8,556.35 crore in FY19 and Rs 7,982.83 crore in FY20 as per provisional figures.