Bharti bids for privatising Delhi, Mumbai airports

Tuesday, 20 July 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: A consortium led by Bharti Enterprises, a leading private telecom operator, Monday submitted preliminary bids for the privatisation of India's two biggest airports.

Bharti Changi Airport Limited, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Singapore's Changi Airport Managers and Partners, submitted the expression of interest for the development and management of Delhi and Mumbai airports according to revised government guidelines.

A Bharti statement said the equity structure for the consortium had been revised in line with the Indian government's new policy.

Under the revised structure, Bharti will hold 54 percent and Changi Airport 20 percent with the International Airports Authority of India controlling the remaining 26 percent stake, the statement said.

Bharti said Changi Airport, with the experience of building and managing one of the world's finest airports in Singapore, would bring in technological expertise.

"The consortium is committed to building and strengthening this core infrastructure area in India," said Rajan Bharti Mittal, joint managing director of New Delhi-based Bharti Enterprises.

"In partnership with Changi, we will now also have the expertise and experience in building and managing the world's best international airports."

Boon Swan Foo, chairman of Changi Airport, said: "We are looking forward to playing a significant role in this project, utilising our technological prowess and experience in managing one of the best international airports in Singapore."

A high-powered ministerial committee last month approved the civil aviation ministry's proposal to modernise Delhi and Mumbai airports by inviting participation from domestic and overseas investors.

The group of ministers, headed by Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, endorsed the civil aviation ministry's decision to reduce the foreign direct investment limit in the modernisation process from 74 percent to 49 percent.

Under the airport privatisation plan approved last year by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government, foreign companies were allowed to pick up 74 percent equity in the venture.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel had earlier said the modernisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports, the country's two most profitable airports, would be completed by end of the current calendar year.

Source: IANS
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