Centre Puts On Hold Pawan Hans Sale Due To Concerns Over Majority Stakeholder Of Winning Bidder

by Swarajya Staff - May 16, 2022 08:05 PM +05:30 IST
Centre Puts On Hold Pawan Hans Sale Due To Concerns Over Majority Stakeholder Of Winning BidderPawan Hans helicopter
Snapshot
  • The central government has put on hold the sale of the state-run Pawan Hans Limited to Star9 Mobility Private Limited.

    The current transaction is the fourth attempt by the centre to divest its stake in the helicopter service provider.

    The carrier has reported losses in the last three years (FY-19, FY-20 and FY-21) and is plagued by an ageing fleet and an eroding market share.

The central government has put on hold the sale of the state-run Pawan Hans Limited to Star9 Mobility Private Limited due to concerns over one of the majority stakeholders of the latter.

Questions have been raised over Almas Global Opportunity Fund and the background of the victorious bidder.

Almas Global holds a 49 per cent stake in Star9 Mobility. Maharaja Aviation Private Limited and Big Charter Private Limited own a 25 per cent and 26 per cent stake in the company respectively.

The Kolkata bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had sanctioned Almas Global in a case involving EMC Limited on 22nd April.

Almas had emerged successful in an acquisition bid worth Rs 568 crore after EMC got into an insolvency resolution plan. However, the Cayman Islands-based company failed to make the required payment, which led to it being reprimanded by the NCLT.

The tribunal even asked for action to be undertaken against Almas under section 74(3) of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). It issued orders saying that a copy of its order have to be sent to the Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India.

An empowered cabinet group had authorised Star Mobility to purchase the central government’s 51 per cent stake in Pawan Hans.

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), which owns a 49 per cent equity in the loss-making company, also offered its entire shareholding to the winning bidder at the same price per share.

However, sources involved in the know of developments told India Today that they will conduct a legal examination of the NCLT order before going ahead with the sale. They further asserted that a letter of award hasn’t been issued yet.

The current transaction is the fourth attempt by the centre to divest its stake in the helicopter service provider. The carrier has reported losses in the last three years (FY-19, FY-20 and FY-21) and is plagued by an ageing fleet and an eroding market share.

Star9 Mobility emerged as the higher bidder as its quoted price of Rs 211.14 crore for a 51 per cent shareholding in Pawan Hans was higher than the reserved price of Rs 199.92 crore for the same.

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