Post Suzlon, Sumant Sinha gets Goldman cash to reap the wind

Sinha said talks with Goldman has been on for a few months.

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In what can be called as the largest investment in India’s renewable energy generation sector, US investment bank Goldman Sachs has put Rs1,000 crore into ReNew Wind Power, floated by the former chief operating officer of Suzlon, Sumant Sinha.

Sinha, who is the chairman and CEO, ReNew Wind Power, said, talks with Goldman has been on for a few months and “the company is fortunate to have closed a deal of this nature in such a market situation.”

“The market volatility in the last couple months didn’t help the process but I must say that Goldman Sachs continued to show confidence and reposed faith in the company, sector and the Indian economy as such,” Sinha told DNA.

Goldman, which will have majority stake in the venture, also has excellent domain knowledge, having invested in US-based Horizon Wind Energy which was successfully sold to a Portuguese power firm, Sinha, son of former finance minister and BJP member of Parliament Yashwant Sinha,  pointed out.

“They also have an investment in a wind turbine company in Germany called Nordex AG. All this really helped us to cut short the time required for initiating and closing the deal,” he said.

SaVant Advisers, a firm headed by Sinha’s wife Vaishali Nigam Sinha, was the exclusive financial advisor to ReNew Wind Power for this deal.

On the business front, ReNew has signed business framework agreements with Kenersys GmBH, Regen Powertech Pvt and Suzlon Energy Ltd to establish and operate wind farms throughout India. The company is looking to expand its wind portfolio by over a few hundred megawatts annually.

“We currently have 85 mw (a 25 mw wind farm in Gujarat and 60 mw wind farm in Maharashtra) that is under construction. Starting December the development will get commissioned and is likely to get over by June 2012. In addition, we are looking at numerous other sites for expansion. Our expectation is that we should be finalising some of these sites for implementation in the next financial year as we go forward. Our intention is to do 200-300 mw every year, in such a way that we can target a capacity of 1 gigawatt by 2015,” he said.

Reaching the target, Sinha feels, will depend on the quality of projects the company will source and get. And if the company doesn’t get the kind of hurdle rates as per plans, it will then look to calibrate downwards in terms of the speed of rollouts.

“We want to grow faster and if we get good opportunities in terms of consolidation and acquisition then we are definitely open to looking at those. The good news is that we have got enough liquidity (equity funding from Goldman Sachs) and future funding requirements will hopefully be available from the same source or some other sources. It puts us in a very good position as a management team, not to have to worry about where our next equity funding is going to come from. Thus, all our energies can be focussed on the business and charting out its growth. We are now among a handful of companies with access to this kind of capital in the renewable energy space,” he said.   

On their plans with respect to inorganic expansion, Sinha said, “I can’t give you a view on that as yet. All I am saying now is that we are open to it and if there are such opportunities we will look at them opportunistically and pursue them provided they meet our requirements and quality targets. We have not zeroed in on a specific corpus for that.”

Considering fund raising eats up a huge amount of time, Sinha is not looking to go for another round anytime sooner.

“I am quite happy not to do that for as long as possible. The current commitment (from Goldman Sachs) is good enough to meet our requirements for the next two years. Perhaps after that we might look at further funding. But like I said earlier, it will all depend on our speed and pace of rollouts,” he said.

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