Indian wind group Suzlon hit back at “false” claims over a string of director resignations from its board, after being asked to clarify the position by stock market regulators.
The Mumbai stock exchange sought clarification from Suzlon after reports in the Indian media following the departure of three independent directors in recent months.
One of the directors decided to quit following Suzlon’s default on a $172m bond payment due earlier this year, claimed India’s Business Standard, quoting but not identifying the individual concerned.
The report also questioned the lack of Indian independent directors on the Suzlon board.
The three resignations – which were all disclosed to the stock exchange in September and October – cited reasons including time pressure, family commitments and other business pressures in regulatory filings.
The two remaining independent directors listed on Suzlon's website are wind industry veteran Per Hornung Pedersen and banker Marc Desaedeleer. They sit on the board with three members of the Tanti family – founder and chairman Tulsi, Vinod and Girish.
In a reply to the stock exchange’s request for clarification, Suzlon said the reports were “false” and said it is short of just one director, which should be a woman under stock market rules. The wind OEM said it is “in the process of identifying a suitable person” and will attempt to comply with the permitted timeframe for the appointment.
Suzlon has been under pressure since the default in March, as it tries to find a solution to its debt situation and tough trading conditions in the Indian wind market.
The company at the end of September denied reports it is poised to tip into bankruptcy, claiming efforts to get its finances back on track are ongoing.
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.
The Indian group has been linked with investments by Canada’s Brookfield and wind OEM Vestas, but neither has so far appeared. Tulsi Tanti was quoted saying earlier in October that a new suitor was in play for Suzlon, which could not be named for confidentiality reasons.