To sell entire 51% stake; industry leader’s net had risen by six times in FY17 over the previous year.
Accelerating the process of PSU privatisation, the Centre on Friday invited expression of interest (EoI) for its entire 51% stake in the profit-making helicopter service provider Pawan Hans (PHL). The stake sale could fetch the government Rs 500 crore or thereabouts, analysts said. Interested bidders would have to submit EoI by December 8. On December 29, candidates would be shortlisted for putting in financial bids. ONGC holds the remaining 49% stake in the firm.
PHL’s net profit rose nearly sixfold to Rs 248 crore in FY17, from Rs 36 crore in FY16. After a recent capital restructuring, its paid-up capital has more than doubled to Rs 557.48 crore. As on March 31, 2016, its net worth was Rs 580 crore (after capital restructuring, it must have risen, though an exact figure was not immediately available). At the end of FY16, PHL also had a cash and bank balance of Rs 124 crore.
The company’s outstanding debt was only Rs 38.71 crore as of March 31, 2016, with a debt to equity ratio of 0.07. The government has also invited EoI from Engineers India or other similar central PSUs for acquiring its 100% shareholding in Projects and Development India, which incurred a loss of Rs 10 crore in FY17.Earlier this week, the Centre had invited initial bids for four other PSUs — Hospital Services Consultancy Corporation, Bridge & Roof Co, National Projects Construction Corporation and Engineering Projects India. The Centre has drawn up a rather ambitious plan for strategic sales in 16-odd PSUs. Besides these firms, other PSUs including profitable BEML and Hindustan Prefabs would be up for grabs over the next few months. India’s last outright sale of a PSU was carried out in 2003-04.
PHL is the leader in helicopter operations in India with the highest fleet strength of 43 helicopters and a diverse fleet mix of light, medium and heavy helicopters to cater to different client needs. Its competitors are Global Vectra Helicorp with 26 copters, Heligo Charters (8) and Himalayan Heli Services (4).
Over the past years, contracts with ONGC and state governments have provided steady source of income for PHL (average 40-45% revenues from oil & gas sector and around 35-40% revenues from state governments). It provides helicopter services for offshore operations, inter-island transportation, connecting inaccessible areas, rescue work, tourism etc.
According to the preliminary information document, the 25-acre Rohini Heliport in New Delhi, developed in partnership with the ministry of civil aviation, would be hived off from PHL’s books before completion of the disinvestment process.Strategic sales are part of the government’s Rs 72,500-crore disinvestment programme for FY18.