The government may finalise the winning bid for state-run helicopter service provider Pawan Hans soon from a pool of bidders, including Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel and Jindal Steel & Power, owned by his brother Navin Jindal, official sources said. “First, the reserve price has to be fixed before the financial bids are opened,” an official told FE, adding that the deal could happen in a few days.
After the independent fixation of the reserve price, the already received sealed financial bids will be opened in the presence of the bidders. The Centre could garner around Rs 500 crore from its 51% stake sale in the helicopter firm.
In December 2021, the department of investment and public asset management had received financial bids for disinvestment of ailing helicopter operator Pawan Hans, which could make it the second Central PSE to be privatised in 2022 after Air India.
On December 8, 2020, the Centre had invited fresh expression of interest (EoI) for its stake in the firm, by allowing potential buyer to asset strip and change shareholding after one year of acquisition of the controlling stake in the helicopter firm. As per the previous EoI terms, asset stripping was allowed after two years while change in shareholding was allowed after three years. According to fresh terms, even the buyer can now undertake sale and leaseback of helicopters within one year of the disinvestment provided the money so raised is utilised for business operations.
State-run ONGC, which holds a 49% stake in Pawan Hans, will also sell its entire stake to the successful bidder on almost the same terms as the government. Over the past few years, contracts with ONGC and state governments have provided steady source of income to the company; an average 40-45% its revenues come from the oil and gas sector and around 35-40% from state governments.