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Suzlon hits new lows as it denies bankruptcy claim

OEM's shares fall again as it tells investors report it's poised to go to National Company Law Tribunal is 'baseless'

Troubled Indian wind OEM Suzlon saw its shares fall to new lows as it denied as “baseless” reports that it is about to tip into bankruptcy.

Suzlon shares fell as much as 12% by early afternoon on Monday in Mumbai despite a statement to investors from the manufacturer strongly denying claims that it is poised to enter the jurisdiction of India’s National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

The Indian group’s shares plumbed new depths at 2.22 rupees – a far cry from the 28 rupees seen in 2015.

Heavily-indebted Suzlon has been under intense market scrutiny since it defaulted on $172m of bond repayments in July. The pressure ramped up further when reported separate debt restructuring packages involving investment by Canada’s Brookfield and Danish OEM Vestas came to nothing – the failure of the latter said to scupper a $1.2bn plan Suzlon was negotiating with its creditors.

Suzlon said in a statement to the Mumbai Stock Exchange: “The article [alleging imminent bankruptcy] is without base and far from the factual position.”

Suzlon plunges after 'Vestas exit' from $1.2bn debt plan

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The wind manufacturer repeated its earlier insistence that its debt resolution plans were never dependent on a single option. “The lenders and the company continue to work hard for a sustainable resolution plan to preserve the value of the company since the relevant stakeholders are mindful about Suzlon’s contribution to Indian renewable energy sector, Suzlon’s strong market position together with its order book, as well as industry potential.”

It added: “As was intimated by the company to the stock exchanges vide its rumour clarification letter dated 17 July 2019, the lenders have already signed inter-creditor agreement and in terms of the circular of Reserve Bank of India dated 7 June 2019, the lenders have time till January 2020 to work on a sustainable resolution plan before taking any extreme steps.”

Suzlon posted a 15.3bn rupees ($220m) net loss for the latest financial year and its total debts stood at 111bn rupees at the end of May 2019.

Suzlon insists it is ideally placed to benefit from a booming Indian market as the country pursues its ambitious renewable energy targets. Its latest full-year results cited a third year of market share gains and a 1.3GW order book that’s “among the largest in the Indian wind industry”.

However, the group has also admitted it faces a string of challenges in the Indian market – including land acquisition, delays to wind auctions and PPA approvals, and grid and military issues.

Suzlon’s debt was downgraded in April by Indian financial ratings CARE, which noted the company’s “stretched liquidity position”. It added: “This has been on account of impaired volumes resulting from wind industry’s transitionary phase and delay in monetisation of assets.”

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