Pawan Hans disinvestment process likely to be over by June


The government is hopeful of handing over loss-making helicopter service provider Pawan Hans to Star9 Mobility by June, an official said on Friday.

Star9 Mobility — a consortium of Big Charter, Maharaja Aviation and Almas Global Opportunity Fund — emerged as the highest bidder, quoting ₹211.14 crore, above the reserve price of ₹199.92 crore fixed by the government.

Refuting allegations that Star9 Mobility did not meet the eligibility criteria, the official explained that the net worth of the consortium which bid for Pawan Hans was ₹691 crore, as against the requirement of ₹300 crore mandated by the government. It further increased to ₹710 crore at the RFP stage, the official added.

The official added that the consortium put in preliminary bids at the Expression of Interest (EoI) stage in February 2021. Thereafter, in October 2021, the consortium converted itself into a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and put in financial bids. However, the consortium members have been in business for long. Maharaja Aviation and Big Charter were incorporated in 2008 and 2014, respectively, while Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC, under Almas Capital, has been there since 2017. All the three entities are owned by Indian nationals, the official said. While Big Charter and Maharaja Aviation owns 26 per cent and 25 per cent respectively in the SPV, Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC holds 49 per cent.

The government had late last month approved selling its 51 per cent stake in Pawan Hans Ltd (PHL) along with transfer of management control for ₹211.14 crore to Star9 Mobility.

“The letter of award will be issued next week after which the buyer will have to get regulatory clearance. The handover process is expected to be completed within one-and-a-half month,” the official said.

PHL is a 51:49 joint venture of the government and ONGC.

ONGC had earlier said it will offer its entire shareholding to the successful bidder identified in the strategic disinvestment transaction on the same price and terms decided by the government. The official further said that after the issue of Letter of Award by the government to Star9 Mobility, ONGC will have 7 days time to offer their shares to the company. Star9 Mobility will also have another 7 days time to decide whether they would accept ONGC’s offer. It is upto the company to decide whether they want to accept ONGC’s offer, the official added.

All the three entities in the consortium had submitted their annual financial statements both at the EoI and RFP stages, the official said, adding that all due diligence would be done and money would be transferred to the government before the share purchase agreement (SPA) is inked.

The official said that the SPV was required to be formed by the consortium of bidders before the signing of the SPA. However, in this case, the consortium decided to convert themselves into SPV before submitting financial bids.

“Consortium is a loose agreement but SPV is a legal structure,” the official said. The government had in December last year received three bids for the Pawan Hans sale. The other two bids were for ₹181.05 crore and ₹153.15 crore.

Published on

May 06, 2022

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