Commercial

India Progresses Toward Sale of Pawan Hans, Report Says

By S.L. Fuller | August 11, 2017

Pawan Hans AS365N3

Pawan Hans AS365N3

The Civil Aviation Ministry of India is finalizing the modalities for the sale of Pawan Hans Ltd., multiple news outlets reported. According to The Hindu, the ministry should send its report to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management next week.

The Hindu also reported that Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha met Wednesdsay to discuss issues connected with the divestment.

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Plans to sell off the 51% stake understandably have provoked resistance from Pawan Hans employees, and the overall effort to sell off state-owned enterprises has been criticized by some officials in government ministries opposed to giving foreign investors control over those outfits. However, The Hindu reported that Pawan Hans has made some internal changes, which may make it look more attractive to buyers. Pawan Hans has reportedly restructured its board, and is expected to appoint independent directors before the end of the year.

India's government plans to sell its 51% stake in the company as part of a strategy to raise 725 billion rupees (about $10.9 billion) in the divestment of what it calls central public sector enterprises. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. of India holds 49% of Pawan Hans.

Bloomberg reported that Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. has not expressed interest in selling its stake. The report said this could be because the company uses Pawan Hans helicopters to support offshore operations.

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