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PE, VC funds with adequate net worth & capability can bid for strategic divestments like Air India: DIPAM secy


Agencies, New Delhi Private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) funds with adequate enterprise or managerial or technical investors in the whole consortium sort of model can come forward to participate in strategic divestments like Air India, a top Government official said at an ASSOCHAM event held here on Thursday. “We are not looking only for an airline to takeover Air India, we have given a small carve out for airlines on how domestic airlines will be treated in terms of eligibility in a consortium but otherwise anybody who has net worth and funds can bid for Air India,” said Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary Neeraj Gupta said at an ASSOCHAM Annual India Investment Conference. “In all these disinvestment exercises also, we have kept them technically neutral, finance is the main criteria and your capability to takeover and run such an asset in financial terms is the main criteria,” he added. He also said that the Union Government had received lot of queries from airlines and non-airlines for proposed divestment of the national carrier. Earlier, Mr Gupta also said there is a thought that VCs cannot make investment in such privatisation or strategic disinvestment area which is not correct. “You individually may not be but if you see the expression of interest being invited in these cases, the only criteria is net worth.” Talking about the huge potential for growth in the PE and VC sector, the DIPAM secretary highlighted that from 2009 to 2016 the PEs and VCs have grown as a percentage of GDP (gross domestic product), besides both size and volume of the deals have also grown. Adding that government had addressed lot of issues flagged by the PEs and VCs, Mr Gupta said, “I am not saying all the issues could have been addressed and there may be more expectations on tax and incentive side but we have to always remember that when we provide a very-very attractive, sweet carve-out for one set of investors it has the potential of being misused and tax is definitely the basis on which we can maintain financial discipline.”  

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