Monday, December 23, 2013

Essar Energy reiterates positive outlook
Buy Essar Oil Ltd at Rs.51.70
Kolkata, Dec 19, 2013: Essar Energy Plc, the India-focused integrated energy company, on Thursday announced that it notes the recent share price performance and reiterates its positive outlook for the business, the company said in a release.

"Over the last three years, Essar Energy has invested over $8 billion building a suite of assets across its refining and power businesses to meet India's rapidly growing energy needs. Having completed the majority of its capital expenditure programme, the Group is now focused on improving its operational and financial performance and is currently implementing asset optimisation and refinancing programmes to improve margins, cash flow and profitability," the statement said.

Essar Oil Limited, Essar Energy's 90% owned subsidiary, has to date dollarized $870 million of Rupee debt and the Company remains confident, subject to RBI approval, of completing further dollar refinancing by the end of the current financial year. This will reduce risks within the business, reduce interest costs and extend repayment maturities to better match the underlying asset life of the company's Indian refinery. For every US$100 million refinanced, the Company is expected to benefit from approximately US$6 million of interest cost savings. Essar Oil had gross debt, excluding working capital, of US$2,868 million at the end of September 2013.

Essar Energy continues to make good progress extending debt maturities in its Power business. In the first half of FY2014, Essar Power raised c.US$452 million of Rupee bonds which were used primarily to repay existing project debt. The Reserve Bank of India has recently launched an initiative designed to protect infrastructure projects impacted by delays in Government approvals by allowing lenders to move their repayment schedules by up to two years from the original date of commencement of commercial operations (DCCO). Essar Power has already applied to lenders of its Mahan I (1,200MW), Hazira II (270MW) and Paradip (120MW) projects and also its Mahan transmission project for pushing out the repayment schedule. If successful, these actions would defer c.US$150 million of repayments at these projects over the next two years.

Essar Energy was recently informed by its major shareholder Essar Global Fund Limited (EGFL) that EGFL intends to ensure that Essar Energy meets the FTSE UK Index Series minimum free float requirement of 25 per cent through a private sale of some of its shares in Essar Energy.

In the short term, Essar Energy will seek to reduce capital expenditure by focusing only on essential maintenance, asset optimisation and project expenditure.

As at 30 September, 2013, Essar Energy had undrawn committed facilities of US$1,249.9 million (31 March 2013: US$1,362.3 million).

Essar Energy's operational performance is currently trading in line with expectations and the outlook remains unchanged from that published in our interim results for the six month period ended 30 September 2013, published on 25 November 2013.

Essar Energy's Chairman Prashant Ruia said: "Energy demand in India will continue to be strong for many years to come and I believe that Essar Energy is well placed to meet that demand. Although our recent share price performance has been disappointing, our underlying business is strong and our future prospects remain positive."