April 9, 2018 / 11:03 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Swiss Aviation Consulting denies bid for Air India assets

(Adds Swiss Aviation Consulting response)

By Kanishka Singh

April 9 (Reuters) - Aviation advisory firm Swiss Aviation Consulting (SAC) on Monday denied it has expressed interest in buying the debt burdened state-run carrier Air India.

SAC has never expressed interest in acquiring Air India or parts of it, or has acted as a front for some other stake holder, the company told Reuters in an email.

Earlier, the Economic Times newspaper quoted a senior aviation ministry official as saying that SAC has shown interest here in bidding for Air India, although the report added that the Swiss company may only be scouting for clients.

The advisory firm said it has not been in contact with Indian government officials or Air India representatives regarding bidding for the carrier.

SAC offers services including aircraft asset management, sales and consultancy services on acquisitions, according to its website.

Last week, top Indian carrier Interglobe Aviation Ltd , owner of the IndiGo brand, said was opting out of buying Air India because the terms set by the government were unfavourable. Tata Group and Turkey's Celebi Aviation Holdings, have expressed interest in buying some of Air India's operations.

The Indian government, which fully owns money-losing flag carrier Air India, put the company on the block late last month, seeking to sell a 76 percent stake.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet gave the go-ahead last year to sell Air India after successive governments spent billions of dollars to keep it solvent, but its debt load of about $8 billion and a bloated cost structure have made a sale difficult. (Reporting by Sayantani Ghosh in Singapore and Kanishka Singh and Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Shounak Dasgupta)

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