ONGC to up stake in Pawan Hans; NTPC to infuse Rs55 cr

Oil and Natural Gas Corp, the state-owned producer and explorer, has decided to increase its stake in Pawan Hans Helicopters from its current holding of 21.5 per cent to 49 per cent at a cost of Rs96 crore.

This was announced by Pawan Hans chairman and managing director R K Tyagi at a function in Mumbai to launch seaplane services between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

"The boards of both companies have given their sanction for ONGC to raise its stake to 49 per cent. NTPC (National Thermal Power Corp) will also be making an investment of Rs55 crore," said Tyagi. The first Cessna 208 amphibious plane bought by Pawan Hans for the operations was inaugurated on the occasion.

At present, the government owns 79 per cent in the short hop aviation firm, while ONGC has 21 per cent participating interest.

Pawan Hans has been carrying out offshore operations for ONGC for the last 24 years, mostly off the Mumbai coast. Company officials are hopeful that ONGC's equity infusion would be complete by the end of this financial year.

Pawan Hans is expected to use the proceeds from the ONGC deal, along with other debt-based and government funding, for fleet expansion. The state-owned helicopter service company has big expansion plans.