Essel Group in talks with Adani, CPPIB, Engie for sale of solar assets

Essel Group in talks with Adani, CPPIB, Engie for sale of solar assets

Essel Group is once again in market to sell its 685-MW solar power portfolio, this time on a piecemeal basis. The company is said to be in talks with Adani Power, Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) after Actis Energy’s discussion to purchase the entire portfolio hit a valuation hurdle, people close to the development told FE.

The company is now looking to sell their solar assets on the basis of individual strength of projects after buyers raised concerns over the structural performance of some of the old projects. It is in urgent need of raising funds and will look at all options to monetise its projects. In the past Tata Power, Greenko Energy and ReNew Power also had discussions with Essel on the latter’s solar assets.

“Adani Power has shown interest in buying some of their projects and is in discussion with Essel. The firm is also in talks with CPPIB and some of the European utilities like Engie, though the talks are at an initial stage,” sources said. Adani Power and Essel Infra spokesperson haven’t responded to email queries till the time of going to press.

The sale of entire capacity of 685 MW of installed and under construction projects at `7 crore per MW is likely to fetch Essel around `4,795 crore. The drop in tariffs from the high of `12 per Kwh in 2011 to `2.44/kWh currently has led to consolidation in the renewables industry in India leading to exit of smaller companies.

Essel’s solar assets are comparatively older with higher tariffs and power purchase agreements (PPAs) for as high as `8/kWh and an average tariff of `5.50/kWh, sources said. “Although, higher PPAs give comfort to investors, a lot of discoms have gone back on older contracts with higher tariffs. Hence, there have been issues of valuations while selling their projects or during mergers and acquisitions,” said a Mumbai-based investment banker.

Another investment banker said, “There are numerous assets available for acquisition, many of which remain from failed processes.”