The government is likely to call for fresh bids for the disinvestment of Pawan Hans in the next “two to three months” after an attempt to sell its entire 51 per cent stake in the chopper company didn’t find many takers.
Last year, the government had invited bids from private companies, including foreign ones, to buy out its stake along with management control in helicopter service operator Pawan Hans Ltd (PHL).
The chopper company is a 51:49 joint venture between the Civil Aviation Ministry and oil behemoth ONGC.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Wednesday said that during the bidding process, there was effectively only one bid.
“I understand there is only one entity that qualified, which is effectively a single tender,” Raju said at a media interaction today.
To a question on whether there would be a fresh bidding procedure he said, “Single bid scenario might not be the correct thing. So we are thinking on how to go about it. All options are open.”
Another senior official of the ministry of civil aviation said that fresh bids is the only option left because as per rules an entity can’t be disinvested with just one bid.
He added that the government plans to call new bids in “two to three months” as the basic structure of tender is in place and the government only needs to liberalise certain conditionalities to attract more players.
The official, however, didn’t comment which bidding criteria are likely to be tweaked.