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Government seeks bids for Pawan Hans by Aug 22

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Pawan Hans helicopter

New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) The government has initiated the second step for disinvestment of Pawan Hans Limited (PHL), inviting expression of interest from the prospective bidders to sell its stake in the helicopter PSU.

The Centre is planning to exit Pawan Hans by selling its 51 per cent stake along with the transfer of management control. The Expression of Interest (EOI) window is open till August 22.

Both the shareholders of PHL — the government and the ONGC will indemnify the contingent liabilities to the extent of over Rs 500 crore for the potential buyers.

The renewed process had in fact gathered momentum with issuance of PIM (preliminary information memorandum) on July 11, 2019.

Now, the government proposes to disinvest its entire equity shareholding of 51 per cent in the PHL by way of strategic disinvestment to investor(s) along with transfer of management control.

The government has appointed SBI Capital Markets Limited (SBICAP) as its advisor to manage the strategic disinvestment process, DIPAM (Department of Investment and Public Asset Management) said in a notice.

Shortlisted Bidders (SBs) shall be provided with Request for Proposal in Stage II and would be required to submit their Financial Bid, SBI Caps said. After an unsuccessful attempt for sale of Pawan Hans earlier this year, the government provided indemnity to the potential buyers against contingent liability of over Rs 500 crore in the helicopter service company.

The government had to make the bid document more attractive after discussions with investors on their concerns after the sale process of Pawan Hans failed to attract any suitor when the bidding ended on March 6.

“It has been decided to indemnify the investors of the contingent liability of Rs 577 crore which relates to disputed tax demand,” an official said.

The government holds 51 per cent stake in helicopter service provider Pawan Hans, and the remaining 49 per cent is with the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). A total of 100 per cent stake in Pawan Hans, which has a fleet of 46 choppers, has been put on the block.

Though the renewed process has just started, officials said as per estimates of advisers to the deal, a 100 per cent stake sale could fetch about Rs 1,100-Rs 1,200 crore to the government.

This disinvestment process is to be implemented through open competitive bidding route. Accordingly, Expression of Interest (EOI) is invited to be submitted from interested bidders on or before August 22, 2019.

Since the PIM was out earlier, the prospective bidders have sought clarity on Contingent Liabilities of PHL where they want to know: “Whereas it is clearly laid out that the Centre will indemnify the successful bidder for 51 per cent of the contingent liability – Rs 577 crore, there is no clarity for the remaining 49 per cent. Clarity on the balance 49 per cent will have a direct impact on the bidding price and hence some clarity is required on the same.

It is expected that ONGC will provide the balance 49 per cent cover as they are obliged to sell at same terms as the government. SBI Caps has responded to that saying ‘It is clarified that ONGC on its board resolution dated July 26, 2019 has accorded to indemnify the balance 49 per cent (to the extent of its shareholding) of the contingent liability as identified in the PIM’.”

Pawan Hans Ltd. is a Mini Ratna-I category Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and provides helicopter services for offshore operations, inter island transportation, connecting inaccessible areas, rescue work and tourism.

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British PM’s Brexit timetable rejected by parliament

Johnson said that if the lawmakers back his Withdrawal Agreement Bill then “we can get Brexit done and move our country on.”

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Boris Johnson

London, Oct 23 : British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was defeated in a vote on his Brexit timetable, meaning his government could push for a general election.

Lawmakers on Tuesday voted 308 to 322 to turn down his proposed rapid timetable for Brexit bill. As a result, Johnson has to pause the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, Xinhua news agency reported.

After the vote, the Prime Minister said: “I must express my disappointment that the House has again voted for delay rather than a timetable that would have guaranteed the UK would have been in a position to leave the EU (European Union) on Oct. 31 with a deal.”

“We now face further uncertainty and the EU must now make up their minds over how to answer parliament’s request for a delay,” he said.

“The first consequence is the government must take the only responsible course and accelerate our preparations for a no-deal outcome,” said Johnson. “Our policy remains that we should not delay, that we should leave the EU on Oct. 31 and that is what I will say to the EU.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the Prime Minister told a parliament debate that he will pull the Brexit bill and push for an election if it is voted down by lawmakers.

“If parliament refuses to allow Brexit to happen… in no circumstances can the government continue with this,” he said. “With great regret, I will have to say the Bill will have to be pulled and we will have to go forward to a general election.”

Johnson said that if the lawmakers back his Withdrawal Agreement Bill then “we can get Brexit done and move our country on.”

The Prime Minister was seeking to win two crucial votes — the first asking lawmakers to back him on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, and the second to support his bid to fast-track it through the lower House in three days.

Just minutes before the vote on the timetable motion, the government’s Brexit bill was backed by a vote of 329 to 299 in the second reading in parliament, clearing its first hurdle. However, the timetable motion was rejected.

London and Brussels reached a Brexit deal, known as the Withdrawal Agreement, last week. It needs to be approved by the British parliament to become legally binding before Britain leaves the European Union.

If the British government can force its Brexit bill through parliament in time, the UK could in theory still leave the EU by the October 31 deadline.

Given the latest defeat in parliament, Johnson has little chance of getting Brexit done on October 31. He had vowed to take his country out of the EU on October 31 with or without a deal.

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Airtel fastest in downloads, Jio tops 4G availability

The latencies have improved over the past six months across all operators. As per April 2019 data, Jio’s latency was 62.5 milliseconds.

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Reliance jio Airtel

New Delhi, Oct 22 : Bharti Airtel has displayed fastest download speeds of 9.6 mbps and best video experience across all telecom circles in India, while Reliance Jio has extended its 4G availability to 97 per cent, according to OpenSignal’s latest mobile network experience report.

Airtel has excelled in the download speed experience category by scoring 9.6 mbps, followed by Vodafone (7.9 mbps), Idea (7.6 mbps), Jio (6.7 mbps) and 3G-only BSNL (3.1 mbps).

The download speeds are key for streaming of online content, especially videos and games, said mobile analytics company Opensignal.

Latency is crucial for response time. Jio has won the battle on latency with users on its network experiencing response time of 54.2 milliseconds, followed by Airtel at 57.1 milliseconds.

The latencies have improved over the past six months across all operators. As per April 2019 data, Jio’s latency was 62.5 milliseconds.

“The lower latency is on a network, the better experience you’ll receive on a host of mobile applications and services, from web browsing to voice over IP to real-time multi-player gaming,” the report says.

Vodafone topped in voice app experience — a new metric introduced by Opensignal in the latest survey. This captures the quality perceived by users of voice communication mobile apps — WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Skype.

Vodafone scored 72.6 that was marginally better than Airtel’s 72. Though this parameter is important from the users’ point of view, for operators, voice calls made through OTT (over-the-top) apps directly compete with their own voice call services.

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Abhijit Banerjee for cutting govt equity in PSBs to below 51%

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Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee

New Delhi: Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee on Tuesday suggested reducing government equity in public sector banks to below 51 per cent in order to end the fear psychosis of bankers.

Addressing a press conference here, the US-based economist said that fear of investigation by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in default cases had paralysed the banking system and bankers do not want to lend. “Reducing government equity in public sector banks to under 51 per cent will take them out of the CVC purview,” he said.

Refusing to take many questions on the economy or contentious issues, Banerjee said that in his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the morning, the latter had joked that the media was trying to trap him and get anti-Modi comments out of him.


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