Hinduja Group closing in on acquisition in solar energy space
The Hinduja Group is in the final stage of sealing a deal to acquire a solar power company.
In an exclusive interaction with BusinessLine, Ashok Hinduja, Chairman of Hinduja Group of companies in India, said the group is bullish of green power potential in India and has already identified an asset for acquisition.
“We are in the final stage of discussion and an announcement would be made in next few days,” he said without naming the company it is acquiring. However, sources in the know said the company may be eyeing US-based SunEdison Inc’s 450-MW solar plant in India. ReNew Power and Finland’s Fortum Oyj are considered to be contenders for this asset. Many solar projects, which were commissioned a few years back with huge investments, are fighting for their survival as the cost of setting up a solar plant has come down substantially leading to sharp fall solar power tariff.
Last November, the reverse auction conducted by the Centre saw aggressive biding by global giants to secure a foothold in the country. Many overseas companies, including US-based SunEdison Inc, Japan’s SoftBank Group, Canada’s SkyPower Global and Finnish state-run utility Fortum Oyj, have placed bid below ₹5 a unit to tap into the high-growth potential renewable energy market in India.
India is targeting to set up 100 gigawatts of solar power with an investment of $200 billion by 2022, to help address chronic power shortages. Currently, the country has 22GW of ready wind energy capacity and over 5GW of solar power capacity.
In the long run, experts believe solar power tariff needs to be above ₹5 a unit for the project to remain profitable. However, Fortum recently won a 100-MW project in Karnataka at a tariff of ₹4.79 a unit for 25 years.
More opportunities seen
On the progress of the group’s plan announced two years ago to invest $10 billion in India, Hinduja said there are huge investment opportunities to invest in distressed assets especially in infrastructure space, but these assets are not rightly priced.
“We expect the sellers to give us the right discount given the risk and time involved in turning down these stressed assets,” Hinduja said.
Hinduja Group has identified power sector as one of the areas of investment. It is close to commissioning a 1000 MW thermal power plant at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.