Pawan Hans Disinvestment: JSW Steel, JSPL Bids May Be Decided Soon; Check Details

The government is expected to finalize the sale of ailing helicopter operator Pawan Hans on Saturday and bids from JSW Steel and Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) have been received, according to a report quoting sources. The Pawan Hans disinvestment Hans is estimated to fetch Rs 300-350 crore.

The Center has a disinvestment target of Rs 65,000 crore in the financial year 2022-23. It already has a road map in place for disinvestment in all non-strategic and strategic sectors.

A group of officials, headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, will meet on Saturday to decide on the winning bid, according to the livemint report. Among the companies to be disinvested this year, three companies on the table are Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), RINL and Pawan Hans.

The government has a disinvestment target of Rs 65,000 crore for the current financial year 2022-23, according to the Union Budget documents. For the financial year 2021-22, it had set a disinvestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore in the last year’s Budget. Out of this, only Rs 78,000 crore could be achieved, a reduction of 55.4 per cent.

The final announcement on the Pawan Hans will be made after the procedural approval by a ministerial panel, as per the report.

ONGC has a 49 per cent stake in state-owned Pawan Hans, which also provides air transport services for exploration activities of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. The central government owns 51 per cent stake in Pawan Hans.

Pawan Hans, which was established in 1985, has a fleet of over 40 helicopters and over 900 employees, less than half of them on permanent roles.

The privatisation of Pawan Hans is estimated to fetch Rs 300-350 crore. This is the government’s fifth attempt to privatize the company.

The company reported a net loss of Rs 28 crore during 2019-20, lower than Rs 69 crore in the previous year. As on March 31, 2020, its authorized capital stood at Rs 560 crore and the paid-up share capital at Rs 557 crore.

Earlier this year, the government transferred its 100 per cent shares in Air India to Tata group’s wholly-owned subsidiary Talace Pvt Ltd, along with the management control. Tata Steel Long Products Ltd also won the bid to acquire Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd (NINL) as a strategic buyer with the highest bid of Rs 12,100 crore.

In the Budget Speech 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “We have kept four areas that are strategic where bare minimum CPSEs (central public sector enterprises) will be maintained and rest privatised.”

Recently, Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad told in the Rajya Sabha that the disinvestment process of oil marketing firm Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) has reached the second stage and many expressions of interest (EoI) have been received regarding its transition.

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