The handover of loss-making helicopter service provider Pawan Hans to Star9 Mobility Pvt Ltd is likely to get over by June, an official said on Friday. Star9 Mobility Pvt Ltd, a consortium of Big Charter Private Limited, Maharaja Aviation Private Limited and Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC, emerged as the highest bidder quoting Rs 211.14 crore, which was above the reserve price of Rs 199.92 crore fixed by the government on the basis of valuation carried out by the transaction adviser and asset valuer.
Refuting allegations in certain quarters that Star9 Mobility Pvt Ltd did not meet the eligibility criteria, the official explained that the networth of the successful bidder consortium was Rs 691 crore against the requirement of Rs 300 crore mandated by the government. Explaining the process of bidding, the official said that the consortium put in preliminary bids at the Expression of Interest (EoI) stage in February 2021. Thereafter, in October 2021, the consortium converted itself into a special purpose vehicle (SPV) and put in financial bids. However, the consortium members have been in business for long.
Maharaja Aviation Pvt Ltd and Big Charter Pvt Ltd were incorporated in 2008 and 2014, respectively, while Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC, under Almas Capital Ltd, has been there since 2017. All three entities are owned by Indian nationals, the official said. While Big Charter and Maharaja Aviation own 26 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively, in the SPV, Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC holds 49 per cent. The government had late last month approved selling its 51 per cent stake in helicopter services provider Pawan Hans Ltd (PHL) along with a transfer of management control for Rs 211.14 crore to Star9 Mobility Private Ltd.
“The letter of award will be issued next week after which the buyer will have to get regulatory clearance. The handover process is expected to be completed within a one-and-a-half months,” the official said. The networth of the bidding consortium at the time of submitting the EoI was Rs 691 crore, which further increased to Rs 710 crore at the RFP stage, the official added. PHL is a 51:49 joint venture of the government and ONGC. ONGC had earlier said it will offer its entire shareholding to the successful bidder identified in the strategic disinvestment transaction on the same price and terms decided by the government.
The official further said that after the issuance of the letter of award by the government to Star9 Mobility, ONGC will have 7 days time to offer their shares to the company. Star9 Mobility will also have another 7 days’ time to decide whether they would accept ONGC’s offer. It is up to the company to decide whether they want to accept ONGC’s offer, the official added.
All the three entities in the consortium had submitted their annual financial statements both at the EoI and RFP stages, the official said, adding that all due diligence would be done and money would be transferred to the government before the share purchase agreement (SPA) is inked. The official said that the SPV was required to be formed by the consortium of bidders before the signing of the SPA.
However, in this case, the consortium decided to convert themselves into SPV before submitting financial bids. ”Consortium is a loose agreement but SPV is a legal structure,” the official said. The government had in December last year received three bids for the Pawan Hans sale. The other two bids were for Rs 181.05 crore and Rs 153.15 crore.”