Debt-laden Indian group Suzlon is too important to the country’s wind power sector to fail, and a restructuring package will be wrapped up with its creditors by the end of this month, chairman and founder Tulsi Tanti told local media.
Suzlon – which has described its own debts of around $1.5bn as unsustainable – has until January to work out a resolution plan or face potential proceedings under Indian bankruptcy rules.
“Bankers realise that India cannot afford to lose a company which is the largest in its wind energy space. We are going to restructure the debt. The process is on right now. By the end of this month, we will finalise it,” Tanti told India’s Economic Times.
“We were talking to two global investors to invest in Suzlon Energy. Unfortunately, because of the challenging business environment, they have decided not to go ahead with the investments,” Tanti told the newspaper.
The investors referred to are widely believed to be wind OEM Vestas and Canadian investor Brookfield, which were both linked with stakes in Suzlon as part of a restructuring.
Tanti in his interview referred to challenges in the Indian market including financially distressed state distribution companies and negative policy moves by the state of Andhra Pradesh. Government figures this week showed India added just 2GW of wind in the last year, well below the level needed to meet national targets.
Suzlon’s commercial position has shown the strain of its financial woes, with a second-quarter loss of 7.8bn ($108m) rupees for the three months ending September, widening from a year earlier 6.27bn rupees, as CEO JP Chalasani admitted Suzlon’s “operations are at a subdued level with minimal allocation of funding as we are trying to fix our capital structure”.
But the company – which defaulted on $172m of bond repayments in July – insists there is still all to play for for Suzlon in the Indian wind market, pointing to its big service fleet and a 1.5GW order book.
Shares in Suzlon rose almost 2% in Mumbai following publication of the interview, but at 2.30 rupees are a fraction of their 2015 value in excess of 27 rupees.