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Government seeks bids for Pawan Hans by Aug 22



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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Hyundai bets on diesel models, launches Tucson SUV




Chennai, July 14 : The second largest car maker in India Hyundai Motor India Ltd while continuing to bet on diesel powered vehicles is also looking at faster demand recovery from tier 2/3 cities, said a senior official on Tuesday.

Hyundai Motor also launched its new premium sports utility vehicle (SUV) Tucson for the Indian market.

Speaking to reporters, Tarun Garg, Director (Sales, Marketing and Service) said the timing of Tucson’s launch is right as there are over five lakh Creta buyers in the country who are looking for an upgrade to a premium SUV.

The new Tucson’s starting price is about Rs 22 lakh.

“With over 6.5 million customers worldwide, Tucson is one of the best-selling SUV’s across the world,” S.S. Kim, Managing Director and CEO told reporters.

He said the model was unveiled at the Auto Expo 2020.

Garg said the booking for diesel engine models are growing and the demand is across the country and more so from tier 2/3 cities.

He said when the fuel prices go up, buyers will look at fuel economy and diesel engines are fuel efficient.

According to Garg, Hyundai Motor has got over 45,000 bookings for its SUV Creta model and 56 per cent of that are for diesel engine variant.

Similarly, one third of the booking for Venue and Verna are for diesel models, Garg said.

“SUV lovers want much more than the fuel economy which diesel vehicles offer. It appears demand will stablilise at this level. There is also good demand for petrol models,” Garg added.

Queried about the pay cuts implemented by various companies and its impact on buyers scaling down their model preference Garg said he is not seeing any such trend.

According to him, buyers prefer to come to the showroom to take delivery of new cars even though Hyundai Motor offers to deliver the car at their door step.

Garg said it is not possible to predict the likely sales for 2020 as some states have Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

He said the company is watching the market behaviour on a monthly basis.

Garg said during June 2020, the company has reached 75 per cent of June 2019 demand figures, In July 2020 the car maker plans to touch 90 per cent of July 2019 levels.

On the availability of components as the company is planning to start third shift in its plant Garg said the localisation levels are very high and the dependence on components from China is very low.

According to Garg the company’s supply chain is ready to meet the demand for increased components as third shift production is soon to start.

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No lay-offs by Wipro amid crorona crisis, no such plan

The Bengaluru-headquartered IT behemoth employs more than 1.75 lakh people in several countries across the globe.




Azim Premji Wipro

Bengaluru, July 13 : Global software major Wipro has not laid off any employee during the Covid-19 pandemic nor has any such plan at the moment, a top company official said on Monday.

“I just want to give comfort and say this categorically that we have not laid off a single employee as the pandemic unfolded,” Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji said at the company”s 74th annual general meeting (AGM) held virtually.

“At the moment, we have no plans to lay off anybody at the company,” he said, replying to a female shareholder.

“We are trying to drive cost deductions through various other means operationally and otherwise,” said Premji.

The Bengaluru-headquartered IT behemoth employs more than 1.75 lakh people in several countries across the globe.


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Google to invest Rs 75,000 crore to boost digitisation in India

The investment will focus on four areas important to India’s digitisation– first enabling affordable access to information to every Indian in their own language.




Sundar Pichai

New Delhi, July 13 : Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday announced a Google for India digitisation fund through which, the company will invest Rs 75,000 crore or approximately $10 billion over the next five to seven years to help India go digital.

“We will do this through a mix of equity investment, partnerships and an operational infrastructure ecosystem in India. This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy,” Pichai said during the Google for India virtual conference.

The investment will focus on four areas important to India’s digitisation– first enabling affordable access to information to every Indian in their own language.

“Second, building new products and services that are deeply relevant to India”s unique needs. Third, empowering businesses to continue or embark on digital transformation. And fourth, leveraging technology and Artificial Intelligence for social good in areas like health, agriculture and education,” the Google CEO said.

India’s Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad were also present during the conference.

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