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Monday, December 02, 2013

Tata Power set to make acquisitions by fiscal-end
Tata Power Co Ltd is evaluating renewable energy projects totalling over 2,800 MW for acquisition.

In October, the company had acquired a 39-MW wind farm in Gujarat, and since then, the country’s largest private sector integrated power company has been flooded with offers.

In an interview with Business Line, Rahul Shah, Chief, Business Development, India Business and Renewables, said the company has received offers to take over 2,500 MW of hydro power, 300 MW of wind and 80 MW of solar energy units, spread across the country.

Edited excerpts:

You are getting so many offers. Are they distress sales?

It is basically due to the financial stress in the system.

For some, it is more of a distress sale, where their main or parent business is under stress.

For others, it is rationalisation — whether they want to be in renewable energy or not.

Some others, who had invested for accelerated depreciation and enjoyed the benefit, now want to capitalise their assets. More than 50 per cent of the wind farms for sale fall in this category.

Why the financial overhang? After all, promoters must have planned for repayments…

Lenders and financial institutions have over-exposure to the power sector and now are scrutinising the credentials of the promoters, which they were not looking so stringently earlier.

In an under-construction project, one needs to keep bringing in equity, else lenders and financial institutions will not provide the balance.

The hydro projects on sale — of 2,500 MW — appear to be large…

More projects were allotted to people outside the power sector than to those within.

Of the total, operational projects for sale are more than those under construction.

They are in the North and North-Eastern States — Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and Sikkim.

Are you close to inking any deal?

It is a question of whether the value you offer is something that the exiting party finds reasonable. We hope to close a few deals by the end of this fiscal.

Your top management has made it categorical that it will not undertake large investment projects until it gets compensatory tariff for its 4,000 MW Mundra plant…

We have to be selective, but then we have to evaluate everything.

This is the time when there is stress and opportunity as well. There is a huge number of assets doing the rounds, and nobody seems to be having the money.

Why is your solar portfolio small?

We have about 29-plus MW of solar. We have been a little cautious where we build the plant, who we sell to and also the tariffs we are selling at.

We had been called conservative, but now people accept we were prudent. In wind power, we have about 437 MW in India.

What about the National Solar Mission?

We did not participate in the past as we did not have land and were circumspect about the sale of power and payments.

Now that these issues have been addressed over the last two years, and with land with us, we are evaluating the options.

shanker.s@thehindu.co.in

Courtesy: The Hindu Business Line