New Delhi: The Centre will make a push for selling its shares in Air India’s erstwhile subsidiaries in FY25, said a top official, but the privatization of Container Corporation of India is unlikely to see any traction soon.

“The Air India subsidiaries can be taken up for disinvestment, they’re part of the ongoing (pipeline),” Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary of the department of investment and public asset management, said in an interaction on Sunday.

Air India subsidiaries include Air India Air Transport Services Ltd (AIATSL), Airline Allied Services Ltd (AASL) or Alliance Air, Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) and Hotel Corporation of India Ltd (HCI).

These are held by Air India Assets Holding Ltd, a special purpose vehicle set up in 2019 for holding the non-core assets and debt of Air India. The government has held road shows for divestment of AIESL, the country’s biggest maintenance, repair and overhaul company, and last year received the approval from a group of ministers start the process. The divestment of Alliance Air has also been in the works, but the government is yet to seek expressions of interest for any of the companies.

Divestment of all the subsidiaries got the Cabinet nod back in 2017, with expectations of about 3,000 crore being raised from sale of the engineering and ground handling companies. However, the process of seeking interest is yet to begin for any of the companies, despite Air India being fully sold to the Tata Group for about 18,000 crore in 2021.

In case of Container Corporation of India or Concor, no clarity has been provided on whether the process will begin in the coming financial year. The Union Cabinet in 2019 cleared the sale of 31% out of the government’s total shareholding of 54.8%, along with the transfer of management control.

“I’m not too sure whether we can start the process in FY25. It certainly can’t be concluded (within the same financial year),” Pandey said, when asked about the government’s plan for seeking expressions of interest.

Concor’s management has told analysts in recent investor calls that they do not see “further movement” of the disinvestment plan, even though it has not been rolled back by the government.

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Published: 04 Feb 2024, 11:20 PM IST

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