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Tuesday, January 07, 2014
IVRCL plans second round of asset sales to cut debt
Buy the scrip at Rs.16, like your fixed deposit and get ur money doubeld in the next 6 months time. The firm to sell Chennai seawater desalination plant and Jalandhar-Amritsar road project
Hyderabad, Sep 27 2013: Infrastructure firm IVRCL Ltd, battling liquidity problems on account of high interest costs and sluggish project execution, is selling its Chennai seawater desalination plant and Jalandhar-Amritsar road project as part of its second round of asset sales to trim debt.
“Three people have shown interest, but we are yet to sign any definitive agreement,” said E. Sudhir Reddy, chairman and managing director, referring to the Chennai plant, at the company’s annual general meeting in Hyderabad on Friday.
IVRCL holds a 75% stake in Chennai Water Desalination Ltd (CWDL), which invested around Rs.600 crore to set up a 100 million litres a day seawater desalination plant in Chennai on a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis for 25 years.
The other 25% stake is held by Spanish partner Befesa Agua, which brought in the technology to purify sea water and convert it into potable water. IVRCL invested about Rs240 crore as equity, raising the balance money through debt.
IVRCL reported a loss of Rs.25.5 crore for the 9 months ended 31 March, CWDL had total liabilities of Rs.472 crore as on 31 March.
Reddy said IVRCL is also in talks with investors to sell the 49-km Jalandhar-Amritsar section of the NH-1 BOOT road project in Punjab. The project, built at an estimated cost of Rs.263 crore, commenced operations on 30 April, 2010.
IVRCL did not divulge the exact amount of debt it is looking to pare. As on 31 March, it had a consolidated debt of around Rs.6,000 crore, of which debt from the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) business accounted for Rs.2,500-2,600 crore, the company said.
“In 6-9 months, we will be able to complete the second round of asset sale,“ Reddy.
Earlier in April, IVRCL signed an agreement to sell three build, operate, transfer (BOT) road projects in Tamil Nadu to TRIL Roads Pvt. Ltd, a Tata group company, for around Rs.2,200 crore. The projects were: Salem Tollways Ltd, Kumarapalayam Tollways Ltd and IVRCL Chengapalli Tollways Ltd.
The sale helped the company free Rs.450-500 crore in cash, and wipe off debt worth Rs.1,100 crore from the balance sheet, Reddy said.
The company has “made mistakes like most other infrastructure by aggressively pursuing BOT projects”, Reddy said.
“The interests rates when we bid for the projects were 7%. Now they are hovering around 12-13%, plus the delay in clearances have pushed us to a state of no man’s land,” he said.
IVRCL has a total order book of Rs.25,000 crore. Of this, it has new orders worth Rs.8,000-9,000 crore, but liquidity has been a major problem.
A “Slow moving order book, stretched working capital and high interest rates are the problems IVRCL is facing,” said Viral Shah, senior analyst tracking infrastructure at Mumbai-based Angel Broking Ltd. “The company needs reduce debt through sale of assets.”
Last month, credit rating agency India Ratings and Research Pvt. Ltd downgraded IVRCL loans from ‘BB’ to ‘D’, indicating “delays in the servicing of term loans, due to its weak liquidity position”.
IVRCL said it has no plans to opt for a corporate debt restructuring. “We want to fight it out in the market,” Reddy said.
The problems of infrastructure companies could stretch up to December next year, despite the government’s best intentions of bringing more clarity in terms of the new land acquisition Bill and speeding up clearances, said P.R. Ramesh, chairman, of the audit and consulting firm Deloitte Haskins & Sells.