SunEdison India sale said to draw Khazanah, Hindujas, Tata Power

Hinduja Group and Malaysian sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional are among groups vying for SunEdison Indian solar assets; Tata Power is also in the fray


The US clean-power giant filed for bankruptcy protection in April, listing $16.1 billion of liabilities. Photo: Reuters
The US clean-power giant filed for bankruptcy protection in April, listing $16.1 billion of liabilities. Photo: Reuters

Mumbai/Kuala Lumpur/New Delhi: Hinduja Group, the industrial conglomerate controlled by four billionaire brothers, and Malaysian sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd are among parties vying for SunEdison Inc.’s Indian solar assets, people familiar with the matter said.

The Indian projects have also drawn interest from Mumbai-based Tata Power Co. Ltd, domestic clean power developer Greenko Energies Pvt. Ltd and Singapore’s Sembcorp Industries Ltd, according to the people. A deal could value the operations at about $700 million including debt, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

SunEdison, which is credited with bringing Indian solar tariffs to a record low last year, bid aggressively to win contracts in the country during a $3.1 billion buying spree that left it overloaded with borrowings. The US clean-power giant filed for bankruptcy protection in April, listing $16.1 billion of liabilities.

Shares of SunEdison fell 2.3% in New York trading on Wednesday to close at a record low 12.55 cents. Suitors for the company’s Indian assets haven’t made a final decision, and there’s no certainty the talks will result in a transaction, the people said. SunEdison could pick a winner in about a month, and may prefer bidders that already have a presence in India, according to one of the people.

A representative for Hinduja didn’t immediately respond to emailed queries. SunEdison Asia-Pacific president Pashupathy Gopalan and spokesmen for Khazanah and Sembcorp Industries declined to comment. A representative for Greenko said founder Anil Kumar Chalamalasetty wasn’t immediately available to comment. Tata Power said in an emailed statement it is “evaluating various options to create shareholder value,” declining to comment further.

Sovereign backing

Closely-held Hinduja Group, founded in India in 1914, has interests in automobiles, finance, media and energy on several continents. It is controlled by four brothers, including Hinduja Group chairman Srichand Hinduja, who have a combined net worth of $14.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Co-chairman Gopichand Hinduja said in an interview last month that Hinduja Group is looking at distressed assets in India’s infrastructure and power sectors. The conglomerate’s Hinduja National Power Corp. unit is setting up a 1,040-megawatt thermal power plant in Andhra Pradesh, according to the group website.

Tata Power, controlled by the $103 billion Tata conglomerate, has an installed gross electricity generation capacity of 9.2 gigawatts, its website shows. The company agreed in June to buy a 1.1-gigawatt solar and wind portfolio from Welspun Renewable Energy Pvt. Ltd in India’s biggest clean-energy deal.

Closely-held Greenko raised $230 million in June selling stock to Singapore state investment company GIC Pte and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority to help triple its renewable-energy capacity. Bloomberg

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