Govt to invite bids for 100% stake sale in Pawan Hans as ONGC seeks exit

The government will soon invite fresh bids for 100 per cent stake sale in Pawan Hans by issuing an addendum to the disinvestment document as ONGC is ready to sell its entire stake in the company, an official said.

Helicopter services provider Pawan Hans is a joint venture between the government, which holds 51 per cent stake, and state-owned ONGC, which owns the remaining 49 per cent shareholding. Pawan Hans has a fleet of 46 choppers.

On April 13, the government had issued the information memorandum for the 51 per cent strategic stake sale in Pawan Hans and had sought Expression of Interest (EoI) from interested bidders by June 18. About half a dozen bidders are believed to have submitted bids.

On July 2, ONGC wrote to the government saying that its board has resolved that it would prefer to exit Pawan Hans simultaneously with the government.

Against this backdrop, the senior government official said an addendum to the existing document would be issued soon, seeking bids for 100 per cent stake in Pawan Hans.

"An addendum would be issued to the EoI (Expression of Interest) document issued on April 13. The addendum would state that ONGC has expressed its interest in selling its 49 per cent holding and fresh bids can be put in for the entire 100 per cent stake," the official told PTI.

According to the official, the existing bids for the government's 51 per cent stake would stay. "We want to give other investors a chance in case they want to bid for entire 100 per cent stake," the official added.

SBI Capital Markets is the transaction advisor for strategic disinvestment of Pawan Hans.

The government had first floated an offer to sell its 51 per cent stake in October last year, but in view of subdued response from bidders, the EoI was withdrawn in April this year.
At that time, some investors had suggested that the government and ONGC should sell their stakes together.

"Potential investors had then suggested that ONGC's 49 per cent stake too should be sold along with government's 51 per cent. They feared that ONGC holding 49 per cent could mean government interference in some way," the official said.

Later on April 13, the government came out with a fresh information memorandum for the strategic sale of Pawan Hans wherein bidders need to have a minimum net worth of Rs 5 billion.

Among others, Pawan Hans provides seven choppers to ONGC for its off-shore helicopter requirements for crew change and production tasks, including night ambulance.

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