The government has received "multiple expressions of interest (EoIs)" for privatisation of national helicopter carrier Pawan Hans, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey said on Thursday. The official, however, did not reveal the name of bidders.
The department, which deals with all matters related to disinvestment of equity in central public sector undertakings, said that the transaction will now move to the second stage.
The deadline for submission of EoIs for Pawan Hans was January 19. In a bid to exit from the chopper operations business, the government in December last year issued a fresh bid document for strategic disinvestment in Pawan Hans. The government intends to sell 51 per cent stake in the mini-Ratna PSU. The remaining 49 per cent stake in the carrier is owned by oil major ONGC.
In the Union Budget 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that disinvestment of state-owned Air India and Pawan Hans would be completed in 2021-22.
As per the information memorandum (IM) released by DIPAM in December last year, the successful bidder will also have the option of buying ONGC's 49 per cent stake in Pawan Hans. The ONGC board has also decided to sell its entire shareholding of 49 per cent in Pawan Hans at the same derived price per share and on the same terms and conditions as determined by the government, says the document.
Any private or public limited company, limited liability partnership, body corporate, whether registered or incorporated in India or outside, or Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) registered with SEBI are eligible to bid for the Pawan Hans. However, Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) or Central Government-owned Cooperative Societies -- entities where the direct holding of the Central Government or of other CPSEs is 51 per cent or more - will not be allowed to bid unless 'if desirable in public interest'.
Pawan Hans Limited posted revenue of Rs 376 crore in 2019-20 and a total loss of Rs 28 crore. In 2018-19, it had posted revenue of Rs 414 crore and a loss of Rs 69 crore.