Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Pawan Hans strategic sale: Government likely to scrap winning bid, says report

The central government is likely to scrap the winning strategic sale bid for helicopter operator Pawan Hans Ltd and invite fresh bids, as per a report.

The Centre scrapped the sale of Central Electronics Ltd (CEL) last month after it discovered that legal proceedings against the successful bidder were pending before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), Economic Times reported.

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) issued adverse observations against Almas Global Opportunity Fund, the majority owner of Star9 Mobility, a consortium of three companies that won the Pawan Hans divestiture bid in April, the report added.

The NCLT's Kolkata bench made adverse observations against Almas Global for failing to implement the resolution plan for the acquired company EMC Ltd. "While Almas Global has challenged the observation in NCLAT, there is a significant concern raised given the NCLT decision," the ET report quoted sources as saying.

Despite scrapping the strategic sale of CEL, the Centre had said that pending NCLT proceedings might disqualify the bid under applicable provisions of the Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) and Request for Proposal (RFP).

"The NCLT in its judgement has said that Almas Global Opportunity Fund and its officers be held responsible and proceeded against for contravention of the approved resolution plan (for EMC Ltd)," the source told ET. "Even if that decision is overturned by NCLAT under the new guidelines on strategic sales, they may still stand disqualified."

The government has not yet given the letter of award to the winning bidder. Separately, the government is also contesting All-India Civil Aviation Employees Union's petition against Pawan Hans' divestment in the Delhi High Court. The next hearing is on October 12.

"Let that decision come too. We may call for fresh bids taking that into account," said an official aware of the developments, as quoted by ET.


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