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Air India's villas, apartments in Paris, London, Tokyo may be put for sale

Sai Manish/New Delhi 14 Jun 18 | 02:01 PM

The government has decided to further sweeten the deal for potential investors in Air India by making the national airline’s prime real estate across the world and in India part of the strategic sale. These properties, many of which are located in upmarket areas, are believed to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars at present market prices.

Business Standard saw the list of these properties. Air India spokesperson Praveen Bhatnagar confirmed that some of these villas, apartments and land owned by Air India across the world will be part of the strategic sale.

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The global properties owned by Air India include three villas in Hong Kong, Mauritius and Nairobi. The Hong Kong villa, called Villa Monta Rosa, is located at the upmarket Stubbs Road and measures over 2,700 square feet. The Mauritius villa measures more than 3,100 square feet and is located in Floreal locality of the nation’s capital. The villa is located in the same neighbourhood as the Russian and French embassies in the island nation.

Air India’s Kenya property is also its biggest. Called ‘Lavington Estate’ the entire villa and its surroundings measure more than an acre. Then there are several apartments owned by the airline across the world. It owns two apartments in Tokyo, one of which is over 1,400 square feet. Its apartment in Paris measuring over 1,700 square feet is located in vicinity of the Le Corbusier Foundation building in France’s capital. The Air India building in London measuring over 24,000 square feet will also be made part of the strategic sale. The building is located in the Berkshire locality of London.

While these global properties look impressive, Air India also has massive non-commercial real estate in India. Some of these properties have been already put up for auction like flats in Jupiter Apartments, Venus Apartments and Sterling Apartments in South Mumbai. There was huge amount of real estate that was transferred to Air India from the erstwhile Indian Airlines when the two carriers merged into a single entity in 2007. These include land measuring over 420 square meters in DLF Qutab Enclave in Gurugram, housing colonies in Amritsar, apartments in Bengaluru, vast tracts of land across Gujarat, Goa and various other Indian states.

In 2007, Air India had put a book value of just around Rs 219 million on all freehold properties of the erstwhile Indian Airlines across India. The southern region of the airline had put the highest book value on the assets. Many of these properties and land parcels were situated in Bengaluru. The present day market value of all these properties would be many times its book value in 2007. Air India’s spokesperson did not elaborate more on their present market value.

While these array of properties would certainly be a shot in the arm of Air India’s disinvestment, the move to make them a part of the strategic sale seems to be the result of the failed sale process of the national airline.

Air India’s strategic sale initiated by the Modi government failed to attract any bidders with reports suggesting that the airline huge debt was proving to be deterrent in its eventual sale. With the government now making these properties also part of the sale, the stakes for India’s national debt ridden airline seems to have got higher.

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