The asset sale plan will help bridge the budget gap and meet spending targets as the economy faces fresh headwinds from the geopolitical tensions

New Delhi, NFAPost: India will finalize the sale of state-owned helicopter service provider Pawan Hans Ltd. this week and has received bids from companies including JSW Steel Ltd. and Jindal Steel & Power Ltd., according to people with the knowledge of the matter.

A group of officials headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba is meeting on Saturday to pick the winning bid, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. A final announcement will be made after the approval by a ministerial panel which is largely procedural, they said.

The asset sale plan will help bridge the budget gap and meet spending targets as the economy faces fresh headwinds from geopolitical tensions. The government is targeting to garner 650 billions rupees ($8.5 billion) from disinvestment, including the sale of a minority stake in some companies, in the year to March 2023.

Loss-making Pawan Hans provides air transport services for exploration activities of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. The federal government has 51% stake in Pawan Hans, while ONGC holds 49%. The oil explorer has decided to offer its entire shareholding to the successful bidder at the same price and terms as agreed by the government.

A finance ministry spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for a comment. Pawan Hans didn’t respond to phone calls made at its office number. A spokesperson for JSW Steel declined to comment while JSPL did not reply to an e-mail request.

After the sale of national carrier Air India Ltd. to Tata Sons Pvt. last year, the government aims to privatise about five state-run companies this year, including Bharat Petroleum Corp., Shipping Corp of India Ltd., BEML Ltd. and IDBI Bank Ltd. It also plans to sell stake in Life Insurance Corp.

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