State Bank of India (SBI) has agreed to a restructuring plan proposed by debt-laden Indian wind OEM Suzlon, it was reported on Wednesday.
SBI is the lead institution among a clutch of lender banks considering the plan, which is crucial to the continued viability of Suzlon, currently hobbled by debts in excess of $1.5bn.
SBI’s board agreed to a proposal to split the debts into sustainable and unsustainable portions, according to financial newswire Bloomberg Quint, which cited a senior banker familiar with the issue, who added that the bank had agreed to a 68% ‘haircut’ on what it’s owed.
The plan – which Bloomberg said could see lenders take equity stakes in Suzlon – will now be considered by other lenders in an attempt to build a majority consensus behind the proposal, which is designed to stop Suzlon tipping into insolvency. That would mirror a previous restructuring agreed in 2012/13.
Suzlon last year reportedly failed in efforts to put together plans involving investments from wind OEM Vestas and investor Brookfield, before settling on the current proposal.
Suzlon’s lenders were looking to extend a deadline to 30 April to reach a deal under a creditor ‘standstill agreement’, its auditor said last week.
The financial problems have hobbled Suzlon’s operational capability, with wind production activity grinding to a virtual halt.
Suzlon booked a net loss of 7.43bn rupees ($104m) for its latest financial quarter ending December 31, as it admitted its wind turbine operations were “at a subdued level with nominal allocation of capital”.
That was brought home by the figure of just 2MW – a single turbine – given for delivery volumes in the quarter, and 49MW for the last nine months, by a company that not too many years ago was among the biggest wind OEMs in the world.
Suzlon declined to comment on the Bloomberg report.