India decides not to immediately revive Air India sale plan — Bloomberg

Updated 20 June 2018
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India decides not to immediately revive Air India sale plan — Bloomberg

New Delhi: India has virtually abandoned a plan to sell its ailing state carrier Air India after failing to attract buyers, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The Indian government plans to focus on improving the carrier’s operations and selling its building in Mumbai, ground handling and aircraft maintenance units, according to the report https://bloom.bg/2M5jobm.
The decision is a highly disappointing reversal of the government’s earlier commitment to privatizating the national carrier, consultancy CAPA India said.
“Under continued government ownership, with no clear roadmap, Air India is likely to see its domestic and international market shares decline over time to a point where the carrier is no longer relevant,” it said.
“In the meantime, losses will continue (estimated at USD1.5-2.0 billion over the next two years alone), representing an unnecessary drain on tax payer funds, to subsidise a government business in an industry which is well-served by private operators,” it added.
The government in March finalized plans to divest a majority stake in Air India and offload about $5.1 billion of its debt, but prospective buyers stayed away, with some citing onerous terms as a reason for their lack of interest.
Air India and the Indian government could not be reached for comment outside business hours.
The state-run carrier said this month it was seeking a short-term loan of 10 billion rupees ($148 million) so it can continue day-to-day operations, underscoring its dire financial straits.


Porsche first German carmaker to abandon diesel engines

Updated 23 September 2018
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Porsche first German carmaker to abandon diesel engines

  • The company would concentrate on its core strength, ‘powerful petrol, hybrid and, from 2019, purely electric vehicles’
  • But Porsche promised it would keep servicing diesel models on the road now

BERLIN: Sports car maker Porsche said Sunday it would become the first German auto giant to abandon the diesel engine, reacting to parent company Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal and resulting urban driving bans.
“There won’t be any Porsche diesels in the future,” CEO Oliver Blume told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
Instead, the company would concentrate on what he called its core strength, “powerful petrol, hybrid and, from 2019, purely electric vehicles.”
The Porsche chief conceded the step was a result of the three-year-old “dieselgate” scandal at auto giant Volkswagen, the group to which the luxury sports car brand belongs.
VW in 2015 admitted to US regulators to having installed so-called “defeat devices” in 11 million cars worldwide to dupe emissions tests.
It has so far paid out more than €27 billion in fines, vehicle buybacks, recalls and legal costs and remains mired in legal woes at home and abroad.
Diesel car sales have dropped sharply as several German cities have banned them to bring down air pollution — a trend that Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to discuss with car company chiefs in Berlin later Sunday.
Stuttgart-based Porsche in February stopped taking orders for diesel models, which it had sold for nearly a decade.
Blume said Porsche had “never developed and produced diesel engines,” having used Audi motors, yet the image of the brand had suffered.
“The diesel crisis has caused us a lot of trouble,” he said, months after Germany’s Federal Transport Authority ordered the recall of nearly 60,000 Porsche SUVs in Europe.
Blume promised that the company would keep servicing diesel models on the road now.
According to the paper, Porsche also faces claims of having manipulated engines to produce a more powerful sound with a technique that was deactivated during testing.
Blume acknowledged that German regulators had found irregularities in the 8-cylinder Cayenne EU5, affecting some 13,500 units.
Merkel, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer and heads of German auto companies were due to meet in Berlin later Sunday to discuss steps to avoid more city driving bans.
The German government hopes to see one million fully electric and hybrid vehicles on the road by 2022, up from fewer than 100,000 at the start of this year.