Govt. invites fresh bids for Pawan Hans sale

Potential buyers should submit Expression of Interest by January 19, 2021.

After two unsuccessful attempts, the government on Tuesday invited fresh bids for strategic sale of helicopter services provider Pawan Hans along with transfer of management control.

The government owns 51% stake in Pawan Hans, while Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) holds 49% stake.

ONGC had earlier decided to offer its entire stake in the company for sale along with government stake.

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) has floated the Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) inviting Expression of Interest (EoI) from potential buyers by January 19, 2021.

The government had earlier decided to disinvest its entire equity shareholding in Pawan Hans by way of strategic disinvestment along with transfer of management control.

The PIM said that the heliport at Rohini, built on land allotted to Civil Aviation Ministry under perpetual lease granted by the Delhi Development Authority, shall not form part of the proposed transaction, and will be demerged from Pawan Hans Ltd (PHL).

“Proposal to provide the successful bidder with right to use over Rohini Heliport (currently being used by PHL) for a period of 10 years, is under consideration. If approved, such right to use shall be available from the date of consummation of the proposed transaction,” the PIM said.

On employee related provisions, the PIM said that successful bidder shall ensure that the company shall not retrench/terminate any of the permanent employees for a period of 1 year from the date of consummation of the proposed transaction.

In case of a reduction (including retrenchment/termination) of employees, the successful bidder shall, for a period of 1 year from consummation of the proposed transaction, ensure that the company offer its employees voluntary retirement, it added.

Pawan Hans was incorporated in October 1985 as a public sector undertaking to primarily provide helicopter services for exploration activities of Oil and Natural Gas Corp and to India’s northeast.

As on March 31, 2020, the company had an authorised capital of ₹560 crore and a paid-up share capital of ₹557 crore.

Potential bidders need to submit their queries on the PIM by December 22.

In 2018, the government had invited bids to sell 51% stake in Pawan Hans. However, the bid was withdrawn after ONGC decided to sell its 49% stake in the company along with the government’s.

In 2019, a second attempt was made to sell Pawan Hans, but the sale process failed to receive investor response.

As on July 31, 2020, the company’s total manpower stood at 686, with 363 regular and 323 contractual employees.

For 2019-20, the company reported a net loss of ₹28 crore, lower than ₹69 crore in 2018-19.

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