Centre approves sale of Pawan Hans to private consortium Star9 Mobility

The government has approved the sale of Pawan Hans Ltd along with management control to Star9 Mobility Pvt Ltd — a three-way consortium between Big Charter Private Limited, Maharaja Aviation Private Limited and Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC, reports The Indian Express.

This disinvestment is the second major sale from the government’s aviation portfolio in the last 12 months — Air India went to Tata Group in January this year.

Pawan Hans, which currently operates 42 helicopters, is a 51:49 joint-venture between the government and state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp Ltd. ONGC had earlier decided to offer its entire shareholding to the successful bidder identified in the government strategic disinvestment transaction, on the same price and terms as the government. In December last year, the government received three financial bids for the company.

“M/s Star9 Mobility Private Ltd, a consortium of M/s Big Charter Private Limited, M/s Maharaja Aviation Private Limited and M/s Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC, emerged as the highest bidder quoting Rs 211.14 crore, which was above the Reserve Price,” the Ministry of Finance said in a press release. “The other two bids were for Rs 181.05 crore and Rs 153.15 crore. Following due deliberations, the financial bid of M/s Star9 Mobility Private Limited has been accepted by the government,” it said.

Mumbai-based Big Charter Pvt Ltd runs the ‘flybig’ airline, which operates on UDAN routes, while Delhi-based Maharaja Aviation Pvt Ltd is a helicopter charter company. Almas Global Opportunity Fund is a Cayman Islands-based fund managed by Dubai-based Almas Capital.

The consortium’s bid was also granted clearance by the Alternative Mechanism for Pawan Hans disinvestment. The Alternative Mechanism comprises Road Minister Nitin Gadkari, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.

“The strategic disinvestment transaction was implemented through an open, competitive bidding process supported by a multi-layered consultative decision-making mechanism involving Inter-Ministerial Group, Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment and the empowered Alternative Mechanism,” the official statement said.

Moving forward, the government will now issue the Letter of Award, which will be followed by signing of the Share Purchase Agreement and closing the transaction.

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