Government to sell 51% stake in Pawan Hans, seeks bids to appoint merchant bankers

By: | Published: January 12, 2017 4:44 PM

The government is learnt to have invited bids to appoint merchant bankers for selling its entire 51% stake in Pawan Hans Ltd through strategic disinvestment.

Pawan Hans, which now has a fleet of 46 helicopters, was established in 1985 to provide helicopter support services to the oil sector for off-shore exploration operations. (IE)Pawan Hans, which now has a fleet of 46 helicopters, was established in 1985 to provide helicopter support services to the oil sector for off-shore exploration operations. (IE)

The government is learnt to have invited bids to appoint merchant bankers for selling its entire 51% stake in Pawan Hans Ltd through strategic disinvestment.

Earlier last year, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved disinvestment of the government’s stake in the state-controlled helicopter services provider.

While the government owns 51% equity stake in Pawan Hans, another state-controlled giant, Oil and Natural Gas Corp, owns the remaining 49% in it.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had in October given in-principle approval for strategic stake sale in central public sector enterprises (CPSEs), facilitating the government’s agenda and helping it take measures to meet its revenue targets for the year.

The approval was based on the recommendations of the Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment.

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Pawan Hans, which now has a fleet of 46 helicopters, was established in 1985 to provide helicopter support services to the oil sector for off-shore exploration operations, services in remote and hilly areas and charter services for promotion of tourism.

Disinvestment of Pawan Hans was proposed as early as in 1997, by the then Disinvestment Commission.

The government has a target to earn Rs 565 billion by divesting its stake in public sector undertakings in the current financial year 2016-17. While it has already garnered Rs 235 billion so far this fiscal, a senior official said yesterday that the government is confident of achieving the remaining 60% in the next two-and-a-half months. Manish Singh, Joint Secretary in Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) under Ministry of Finance, said that the government has all the options open including strategic share sale, minority disinvestment and further stake sale.

The Indian government has undertaken the strategic sale of stake in profitable PSUs to help boost up state revenue and bridge the fiscal deficit but has repeatedly fallen short of its disinvestment targets in the past.

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