New Delhi: Moser Baer Photovoltaic Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of CD and DVD maker Moser Baer India Ltd, has said it is raising Rs411 crore by selling a 6.5% stake to a consortium of investors even as it tries to scale up its solar energy business.
The investors include Tokyo-based Nomura Group, UK-based CDC Group Plc., Zurich-headquartered Credit Suisse Group AG and New York-based Morgan Stanley. The transaction, said Yogesh Mathur, group chief financial officer for Moser Baer India, values the unit at Rs6,350 crore. The current round of funding follows the company’s previous private equity transaction of Rs400 crore in November 2007, and is part of the $400 million (Rs1,780 crore today) it hopes to invest in the business this year.
Moser Baer estimates global demand for solar energy to reach 10-15 gigawatts by 2010, equivalent to revenues of $50-70 billion. Photovoltaic devices convert sunlight into electricity.
The company expects its expertise across three solar panel technologies—crystalline silicon, thin film and concentrators—along with plans to increase capacity, will put it in a position to secure significant strategic alliances from growing interest in the business which has been spurred by the rising cost of other forms of energy.
“The current round of funding allows us to develop a significant multi-technology platform as we work towards enabling solar power as a competitive source of energy,” said Ratul Puri, executive director of Moser Baer India.
The company currently has production lines in crystalline silicon cell manufacturing and thin film manufacturing in Greater Noida near New Delhi.
The company plans to set up a thin-film photovoltaic plant near Chennai, with a proposed capacity of 500MW.
Moser Baer plans to use the money raised to fund capacity expansion. Currently, the Noida plant has a capacity of 80MW for crystalline silicon cells, which it plans to expand to 180MW, and a 40MW capacity for thin films, which it plans to expand to 120MW.
“At a run rate at full capacity, the revenues from photovoltaics for Moser Baer could approach the range of $300 million this year,” said Ravi Khanna, chief executive of Moser Baer Photovoltaic. “We are seeing significant customer traction in Western Europe and the United States, particularly from strong markets such as Germany, Spain and Italy,” said Tarun Jaitly, head of capital markets at Moser Baer India.
The growing popularity of solar energy and the consequent reduction in cost per unit of electricity generated from this compared with that from fossil fuels, he said, would drive demand in developing countries such as India.