The Indian Government announced on Friday that they have started the process of selling off their stake in operator Pawan Hans. The 51% stake will mean that the Government no longer controls the company, although the remaining 49% will stay with ONGC, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation. ONGC was originally fully government owned, although a earlier share sale means that over 31% is in different ownership these days.
The announcement calls for “Expressions of Interest” by 8th December, although no guidance was stated as to whether they are looking for a single purchaser or would split up the 51% to multiple buyers.
Pawan Hans derives the majority of its turnover from offshore support operations, but has increasingly added internal scheduled passenger services as well as seasonal tourist flights, particularly to shrines. They also operate helicopters for state governments, but the hours flown on these are believed to be quite low. Fixed wing operations are in the early stages of development, including seaplane operations in the Andeman Islands
This is part of a much wider government divestment program. Also announced last week were the sales of Hospital Service Consultancy Corporation, Engineering Projects India Ltd, National Projects Construction Corporation and Bridge and Roof Company.