The govt has received an undisclosed number of financial bids for
sale of its stake in ailing helicopter operator Pawan Hans, moving the
divestment process to the last stage.
“The financial bids for Pawan Hans disinvestment have been received by
the transaction advisor. The process now moves to a concluding stage,
DIPAM Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey tweeted.
He, however, did not disclose the number of bidders.
The government is selling its entire 51 per cent stake in Pawan Hans.
State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), which holds the
remaining 49 per cent, has also offered its entire shareholding in the
company for sale along with the government stake.
Set up in 1985, Pawan Hans has a fleet of over 40 helicopters and over
900 employees, less than half of them on permanent roles. It provides
helicopter services for the exploration activities of ONGC and to
For 2019-20, the company reported a net loss of Rs 28 crore, lower than
Rs 69 crore in the previous year. As on March 31, 2020, its authorised
capital stood at Rs 560 crore and paid-up share capital at Rs 557 crore.
In 2018, the government had invited bids to sell its stake in Pawan
Hans. However, the process was withdrawn after ONGC decided to sell its
49 per cent stake in the company along with the government’s. In 2019, a
second attempt was made to sell the company but it failed to receive
Last year, the government sweetened the terms, reducing the minimum net
worth for potential bidders and the lock-in period of investment and
allowing the successful bidder to sell assets after a year. Previously,
the sale terms allowed the successful bidder assets two year after
Also, a change in shareholding among consortium partners was permitted,
provided the lead investor holds a minimum of 26 per cent stake and
other members hold at least 10 per cent each. The lock-in period for
investment was also reduced to one year from three years earlier.
However, a new clause of business continuity was added to ensure that
the successful bidder will not liquidate or close down the business for
three years. The minimum net worth of bidders has also been reduced to
Rs 300 crore from Rs 350 crore earlier and the profitability criteria
has been abolished to increase the universe of the bidders.
In February this year, the government received multiple preliminary bids
for its privatisation process. The bidders thereafter did due diligence
of the company and have now submitted financial or price bids.
The disinvestment is part of the Rs 1.75 lakh crore revenue mobilisation
target set by the government for the 2021-22 (April 2021 to March 2022)
fiscal year. So far, the government has garnered Rs 9,330 crore from
minority stake sales.
In October, the govt sold Air India to Tata Group at an enterprise
value of Rs 18,000 crore, the first major privatisation step in about
two decades. The government will get Rs 2,700 crore cash from Tatas for
sale of its 100 per cent stake.