AI selloff process to start next month

Wednesday 16th October 2019 06:01 EDT

The fresh attempt to privatise Air India is likely to kickstart next month. Before issuing the expression of interest, the government will this time meet potential buyers - including names like Tata Group and InterGlobe Aviation that run airlines and other big Indian corporates already in aviation space - to assess their interest. The idea is to avoid roadblocks that led to the first attempt seeing not even a single bid coming for Maharaja last year and be successfully able to complete AI divestment within this fiscal itself. “The department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM) expects to launch EOI for AI divestment by early November. The government will also decide on transfer of more debt from the airline’s books to SPV Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL). There is enough interest in the Maharaja and the process of stake sale is on track,” said sources in the know.

Infosys buys Irish contact centre operator

Infosys BPM, the business process management arm of Infosys, has acquired Waterford (Ireland)- based customer contact centre operator Eishtec. Eishtec, it said, employs 1,400 people. The report said the “merger would provide an opportunity for growth, with Eishtec and Infosys BPM already sharing some key clients.” Eishtec was co-founded by Heather Reynolds in 2011. Reynolds has over 25 years industry experience in the services sector across many companies including AOL, Dell UK, and TalkTalk Group, where she held many senior management roles. Eishtec delivers customer solutions for clients across a broad spectrum of industries including technology, telcos, utilities, government and retail sectors.

Plan to sell Shipping Corporation opposed

The shipping ministry had opposed the government’s plan to exit Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), citing the public sector carrier’s strategic role, but agreed to the proposal after a discussion in a top-level panel. The meeting of the committee of secretaries (CoS), which recommended strategic sales of SCI and oil retailer BPCL, the ministry had flagged its concern, arguing that the company’s fleet of vessels came handy in transporting oil, cargo and even passengers during a war or crisis. But other members of the panel argued that several countries did not have a national shipping line and yet managed to perform the tasks in case of an emergency. Besides, SCI can hardly do much in case of a war, members of the high-level panel are learnt to have said, countering the argument.

SC declines govt request on RIL fine

In a setback to the oil ministry, the Supreme Court has dismissed its petition against an order seeking disclosure of documents that formed basis for levy of $3 billion penalty on Reliance Industries over KG-D6 natural gas output not matching targets. A three-member international arbitration panel, hearing Reliance and its partner’s challenge to the government levying penalty because of unutilised capacity due to production not matching targets, had asked the ministry to share a slew of documents that formed basis for its actions. The oil ministry first challenged the disclosure before the Delhi high court, which on December 18, 2018, dismissed the petition. It then challenged it in the Supreme Court, which on August 5, 2019, dismissed it saying it was “not inclined to interfere” with the earlier order.

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