New Delhi: The government has decided to scrap the sale of Central Electronics Ltd (CEL) to Nandal Finance & Leasing as the selected bidder had failed to disclose its ongoing litigation in the NCLT, an official said. And the government has also decided to take a call on the strategic sale of Pawan Hans after clarity on the pending case against Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC, the lead member of the winning bidder consortium, emerges next month. This puts two of the government's PSU privatisation plans under uncertainty.
In November last year, the government had approved the sale of CEL — a public sector enterprise under the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) — to Delhi-based Nandal Finance & Leasing for Rs 210 crore. However, in January this year, the government put the sale process on hold pending examination of specific allegations regarding the bidder.
"Following examination of the allegations, it has been decided to scrap the strategic sale of CEL to the selected bidder," the official told PTI.
The official further said an insolvency case is pending against the bidder in the NCLT, which Nandal Finance & Leasing did not disclose at the time of bidding for CEL, and it is in violation of the disinvestment guidelines.
Incorporated in 1974, CEL, under the ministry of science and technology, makes Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) cells and has developed the technology. It has also developed axle counter systems that are being used in railway signalling systems for the safe running of trains.
For the strategic disinvestment of CEL, open bids were invited based on the criteria of net worth as laid down in the Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM)/ Expression of Interest (EoI).
The bid by Nandal Finance was higher than the 'reserve price' of Rs 194 crore set by the government based on the valuations by the transaction adviser and the asset valuer.
In case of Pawan Hans, the government has decided to wait for the order of the NCLAT before finalising the sale of the helicopter service provider to Star9 Mobility Pvt Ltd — a consortium of Big Charter Private Ltd, Maharaja Aviation Private Ltd and Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC.
Pawan Hans is a 51:49 joint venture of the government and ONGC.
Almas Global Opportunity Fund, the lead member in the Star9 Mobility Pvt Ltd consortium, had earlier this year got an adverse ruling from the NCLT after it failed to make payments to creditors of a Kolkata-based EMC Ltd under an approved resolution plan.
Following this, Almas Global has filed an appeal in the NCLAT and an order is likely to come in September.
"The government has decided to wait till the disposal of appeal in the NCLAT before taking a final call on sale of Pawan Hans," the official said.
The government had in December last year received three bids for Pawan Hans.
Star9 Mobility had quoted Rs 211.14 crore for Pawan Hans, 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.
(With PTI inputs)