Air India employees prepare to bid for carrier

By Sanjeev Sharma
New Delhi, Dec 3 : Air India employees are preparing to bid for the national carrier in partnership with a private equity fund and each employee will be asked to contribute Rs 1 lakh towards the bid.

“The PIM (Preliminary Information Memorandum) thankfully, made it possible for the employees of Air India to take charge and ownership of the airline, and to this end, provides various terms and conditions which need to be fulfilled, and which we intend to collectively achieve and satisfy,” said Meenakshi Mallik in a letter to Team Members of Air India. The last date for the bids is December 14.

“Broadly, the project itself entails participating in a bid process along with all other participants who wish to take charge and ownership of AI and its assets. If the media reports are true, we will be bidding against, presumably, some of the largest corporate houses in India who will be just as keen and interested in the airline and bid,” Mallik said.

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In the course of the Project, we will need to submit various documents and proofs certifying our intention and capacity to own, control and operate this airline. “Financially, I know that we do not have the necessary wherewithal to participate in this bid process alone. We have accordingly searched out for and sought to secure the support of a private equity fund who will invest in the company with us and share the benefit. I must stress that ownership of the Company is what we are bidding for and thus, we are negotiating with our financial partner such that our Employee – Management Consortium will collectively own and control 51% (i.e. majority) of our Airline. The financial partner will hold the balance 49% of the Company,” she added.

“In order to acquire this 51% of the Company, each of us will have to make a financial contribution towards the total corpus. Due to the support we will receive from our financial partner, while I anticipate that each of us will have to make a contribution of no more INR 1,00,000/-, to bid for the Company, this is a detail which I will be better placed to convey to you all once we have passed the initial stage of the EoI. Until we cross Stage 1 (EOI Stage), no monies are needed to be collected from the employees. Moreover, after successfully completing stage one, we are planning our bid in such a way that no single employee will have to take on a financial risk or contribute more than INR 1,00,000/-,” Mallik said.

“There are two other commitments which we have to make to each other in order to succeed in this process. First, the assurance of absolute discretion and confidentiality. As you know, any information which is leaked can and will jeopardize our bid and chances in this project. Hence I appeal to all of you to refrain from discussing this matter with anyone who is not a part of our small group; and second, commitment to the project, since it is by your dedication, of your labour and for your success, that we will participate in this project, together,” Mallik said.


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