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Divestment Saga: Air India employees to be retained for one-year

 
New Delhi, Oct 8 (IANS) Air India employees will be safeguarded even after the divestment of the national carrier by December-end.

The announcement came after Tata Sons' subsidiary Talace emerged as the highest bidder for the national carrier under the divestment process.

Besides Air India, the share purchase agreement (SPA) with Talace will include the Centre's stake in Air India Express and AISATS.

At present, Air India has a total strength of 12,085 employees, which includes 8,084 permanent staff. Air India Express has 1,434 employees.

According to Civil Aviation Secretary Rajeev Bansal, no employee will be removed for a periiod of one year. In the second year, if an employee has to be removed, a VRS option will be provided.

The employees will be provided gratuity and provident fund benefits. In addition, post-retirement medical benefits will be provided to the employees.

On Friday, Tata Sons' subsidiary Talace was declared the highest bidder for Air India under the divestment process. It had quoted an enterprise value of Rs 18,000 crore for 100 per cent equity shareholding in Air India along with that of Air India Express and AISATS.

The bid was higher than the consortium led by industrialist Ajay Singh. The consortium had quoted an enterprise value of Rs 15,100 crore.

On its part, the Centre had stipulated a reserve price of Rs 12,906 crore. There were only two bidders in the final stage of divestment.

Notably, Tata Sons was touted to be the front-runner to get hold of the national carrier.

Based on the bid results, the Centre will enter into a share purchase agreement (SPA) with Talace by December-end. The decision to enter into the SPA with the Tatas was taken by the empowered Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism, it was announced here by Divestment Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey.

"The next step will be to issue the Letter of Intent (LoI) and then sign the share purchase agreement following which the conditions precedent would need to be satisfied by the successful bidder, the company and government," an official communique said.

"It is expected that the transaction will be completed by December 2021," it added.

--IANS
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