MUMBAI : Sajjan Jindal-promoted JSW Energy reported a 3-fold jump in net profit in the December 2018 quarter at 147.08 crore, up from 50.55 crore in the same period of the previous fiscal. The management attributed the company's performance to higher generation, better recoveries and lower interest costs in the quarter.

Generation at its flagship coal-fired Vijayanagar and Ratnagiri plants was at 57% and 83.7%, respectively, increasing significantly from 51.2% and 77.8% the previous year. The lignite-fed Barmer plant had an average deemed PLF of 79.5% whike the hydro electric plant in Baspa achieved an average PLF of 24.2%. As prices in the merchant power market pick up - they averaged at 4.28 a unit in the December quarter -- JSW Energy's sales on the spot market have also improved. Power sales are now split 80.5% and 19.5% between fixed power purchase agreements and open market sales, the company said in a press conference.

The company is also resuming its construction of the 240MW hydro power project in Kutehr in Himachal Pradesh and is currently in advanced negotiations with power distributors to tie-up its capacity in long-term fixed PPAs.

Income from operations for the quarter rose to 2,491 crore, from 2,081 crore while expenses rose to 2,271 crore from 1,989 crore. EBITDA for the quarter was at 809 crore against 673 crore in the previous period. The company paid off debt 296 crore with net debt now stood at 10,686 crore.

The company, which has plans to enter the electric vehicle segment by manufacturing electric passenger vehicles at a total project cost of 6,500 crore, said progress on this front has been faster than expected but stopped short of giving a launch date. "We are still working towards a launch in 2020 but the business will take 3-4 years before complete quarry. You can expect some announcements from the company in the current quarter," Prashant Jain, joint MD and CEO, JSW Energy said.

However, Jain added that the company's strategy in this segment has changed from its earlier stance of providing for the EV ecosystem - through vehicles, charging points and energy storage -- to now only building passenger vehicles.

The company also has an outstanding loan facility 481 crore to Jindal Steel and Power, owned by Naveen Jindal, younger brother to JSW group chairman Sajjan Jindal. The company is also working on a resolution to its outstanding exposure of 752 crore made to Jaiprakash Power Ventures Ltd for a proposed acquisition of a thermal power plant. "The likelihood of the transaction happening is low but we have already provided for the bulk of this exposure," Jyoti Kumar Agarwal, Director-Finance, said.

Jain said that the company is looking to make acquisitions of stressed thermal, hydro and renewable power plants, given the right price and project feasibility.

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