Adani Power, state-run Neyveli Lignite and Singapore-based SembcorpIndustries are in the race to acquire majority stake in GMR Infrastructure’s 1,370-mw thermal power plant in Chhattisgarh.
A consortium of lenders to the commissioned project operated by GMRChhattisgarh Energy Ltd is looking to divest its stake under the strategic debt restructure (SDR) process.
The consortium led by Axis Bank in February last year converted the plant’s Rs 2,992-crore debt into equity as part of the SDR plan for change in management. The banks own over 52.4% stake in the plant and last week sought interest from global and domestic players to offload equity.
“Besides Adani Power, Neyveli Lignite and Sembcorp, some investors from the US and the UK are also likely to evince interest in the project,” sources close to the development said.
The 2×685 mw coal-based power plant achieved commercial operations in March 2017. The project is stranded as it does not have power purchase agreements with state power distribution utilities. Emails sent to Adani Power and GMR Infra did not elicit any response.
A Sembcorp spokesperson declined to comment. “India is one of Sembcorp’s key markets. As a global energy company with proven urban development solutions as well, Sembcorp is committed to the India market. In general we are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to grow, and as a disciplined investor we would choose to invest in those which make sense for our shareholders.
However, we prefer not to comment on any specific projects or opportunities,” the spokesperson said in response to a query sent by ET. GMR’s Chhattisgarh project has attached coal blocks – Talabira-I mine in Odisha and Ganeshpur coal block in Jharkhand.
However, the company in mid-2017 approached Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the government decision to cap fixed costs pass through or permission to surrender the Talabira block without penalties. It filed a consequential petition after Monnet Ispat & Energy and Mandakini Exploration & Mining surrendered the non-producing mines they had won, following a favourable order from the court on their claim that they were not aware of the government’s plan on fixed costs at the time of bidding.
The lenders’ consortium in February last year converted part of the total debt of Rs 8,800 crore to own 52.4% of the power plant while the balance 47.6% remains with GMR. Sources said the bankers last year invited expressions of interest from bidders to which over 20 companies responded and 10 were shortlisted.
The auction process was later scrapped and fresh bids were invited by the lenders in December. The sources said Neyveli Lignite Corp along with Tamil Nadu’s power generation and distribution company Tangedco are interested in buying controlling stake of the plant from the lenders and has held talks with them in the recent past.
Last month, lenders of Prayagraj Power Generation Company, a subsidiary of Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited, operating a 1980-mw thermal power plant, called bids to sell majority stake in the project.
News Source : Economic times