Suzlon wants to re-enter overseas markets, says CEO
Mumbai: On the verge of coming out of the crippling financial crisis created by its over dependence on overseas market, leading wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon is planning to re-enter international markets, a senior company official has said.
The Pune-based company was on a leveraged expansion spree when the global markets were good and used to draw close to around 60 per cent income from outside. But the global financial crisis of 2008 choked investment into green energy space crippling the wind energy space.
Having gone through a debt restructuring, the Tulsi Tanti-founded company brought down its debt significantly, by divesting part of Its international operations.
It sold one of its overseas asset, the German subsidiary Senvion at equity value of EUR 1 Billion in January, 2015, which brought down its debts to more sustainable levels.
Suzlon continues to own 100 per cent of its domestic assets and has strategic presence in select overseas market.
Suzlon's current shareholding pattern is 20 per cent is owned by promoters, 19 per cent is by DSA and only 5 per cent is held by lenders, while the rest are institutional/retail investors.
"There was a time our exports were more than our domestic revenue. Then we went through a financial crisis forcing us to slow down our international business and stabilise whatever assets we have.
"But now that we have regained our market position, we are planning to re-enter international market shortly. We hope to get some orders as early as next quarter," chief executive JP Chalasani said.
He said Suzlon, which had bought the German major Repower in its heydays and then exited, has current installations of 5,500 mw outside the country.
"We began re-looking at getting back into international markets from last year and we have already strengthened our organisation and also appointed a new chief executive for this. We hope to get some global bids from next quarter itself," Chalasani said.
He, however, noted that the contribution of exports will be lower compared to domestic business as they will go very cautiously this time around.
The company plans to re-enter the US, Europe and the neighbouring countries, Chalasani added.
Speaking about the opportunities in the domestic market, he said, "Lower tariff is the key to the sector. One major thing is the shift from feed-in-tariff to tariff-based competitive bidding."
"So far, 7,500 mw has been awarded under SECI I, II, III, IV plus Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu put together.
Of this, we have the largest market share of close to 25 per cent of the tied up capacity.
"Keeping that in mind, I don't see why we won't maintain our lead position in terms of billing and bidding and maintain 25 per cent share of the total bids awarded," he said.
Chalasani further said currently 10,000 mw bids are out and will be finalised over the next two months that is SECI V, VI, NTPC, offshore and solar hybrid put together, which is a huge opportunity for Suzlon.
"Our focus on R&D has helped us move from 90 metre to 120 metre tower height and now they are introducing 140 metre in a short span of one year," he added.
When asked about the debt position, he said, "We will bring down our debt by 30-40 per cent debt latest by the December 2018 through asset monetisation. As of March 2018, our net debt stood at Rs 6,000 crore."