The government will examine a recent order by the Kolkata bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against one of the stakeholders in the group that won the bid for state-owned Pawan Hans before issuing the final letter of award, said people with knowledge of the matter. The government had been hoping to complete the strategic disinvestment of the helicopter company by June.
“Letter of award has not been issued. We will do a legal examination of the NCLT order before proceeding further,” said an official aware of the development.
The NCLT had questioned the financial health of the Cayman Islands-based Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC (AGOF), majority stakeholder in Star9 Mobility Pvt Ltd, the winning bidder for Pawan Hans. The April 22 NCLT order was in connection with Almas Global’s successful bid of ₹568 crore for EMC Ltd in insolvency proceedings. EMC was admitted into the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process on November 12, 2018, for defaulting on ₹6,500 crore loans. Almas’ resolution plan was approved on October 2019 but the company did not pay any amount except the bank guarantee, leading to delay in the resolution proceedings.
Writ Petition Filed
The government had late last month approved a 51% stake sale in helicopter services provider Pawan Hans along with a transfer of management control to Star9 Mobility.
This consortium of Big Charter Pvt Ltd, Maharaja Aviation Pvt Ltd and Almas Global had offered Rs 211.14 crore against the reserve price of Rs 199.92 crore fixed by the government. Almas Global holds 49% of the special purpose vehicle (SPV), while Big Charter has 26% and Maharaja Aviation owns 25%.
Separately, one of the unions representing a third of Pawan Hans employees has filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court seeking cancellation of the notice inviting expression of interest (EoI) issued in 2020. All three entities in the consortium had submitted their annual financial statements with the expression of interest and request for proposal (RFP).
This is the second of three recent privatisation exercises that has run into trouble. Central Electronics Ltd’s privatisation, which took place soon after that of Air India, was put on hold as the government is examining allegations made by employees.