A file photo of a Sembcorp Energy India plant.
A file photo of a Sembcorp Energy India plant.

Sembcorp invests 521 crore in Indian renewable business

  • The funds will be used to expand the Singapore-based company’s renewable energy portfolio in India
  • Sembcorp India has announced the commissioning of 200MW wind power projects in Gujarat

MUMBAI : Sembcorp Industries, the Singapore-based energy and urban development company, has made an equity infusion of 521 crore (S$101.6 million) into its Indian arm, Sembcorp Energy India Ltd. The funds will be used to expand its renewable energy portfolio in India, a senior company official said.

Earlier this week, Sembcorp Industries reported its half-yearly earnings for January-June 2019 with net profit at S$191 million, up from S$159 million in 1H2018, on improved performance from the energy business.

Profitability in India continued to improve with net profit growing by 46% from the year-ago period to S$35 million ( 179.56 crore).

The turnover was S$4.9 billion compared with S$6.1 billion in 1H2018, the company said in a press release.

“The equity infusion is for growth," Vipul Tuli, managing director, Sembcorp Energy India, said in an interview. “In the last nine months, we have added 450 megawatts (MW) of capacity and we will add another 350 megawatts now. We’re looking at reverse auctions, Seci (Solar Energy Corp. of India Ltd) auctions. We have over 30 sites in India and there are opportunities to invest in existing sites and expand yields there. This money is to support that growth."

“This is to fund inorganic growth also. We have always looked at acquisitions, but so far, we haven’t pulled the trigger on any. Perhaps in a year or so, we will find something that matches our requirements, when there are exits from financial investors currently owning assets," company’s managing director Tuli added.

The last time Sembcorp India called on its parent’s resources was when it bought out IDFC’s residual 28% stake in renewable energy joint venture Sembcorp Green Infra for 1,410.2 crore (around Singapore $301 million) in September 2017 to mark its entry as an independent power producer in renewables in India.

Sembcorp India also announced the commissioning of 200 megawatts in the first phase of its Solar Energy Corp. of India 2 and Solar Energy Corp. of India 3 wind power projects in Bhuj, Gujarat. This takes its total portfolio to 450 megawatts of commissioned wind power capacity under Solar Energy Corp. of India auctions alone.

Both the newly commissioned wind farms are connected to India’s interstate transmission system and, the power generated will be supplied to multiple states, the company said in a press release. Under a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) between Sembcorp and Power Trading Corp. (PTC Ltd), power generated from the Solar Energy Corp. of India 2 project will be supplied to Assam, Jharkhand and Odisha, and power from Solar Energy Corp. of India 3 to Bihar and Punjab. Sembcorp has won bids for another 350 megawatts of wind power capacity under Solar Energy Corp. of India auctions, which will be commissioned by the end of the calendar year, Tuli said. With this, Sembcorp’s Solar Energy Corp. of India and non-Solar Energy Corp. of India portfolio will stand at 1,730 megawatts.

Sembcorp India also operates a 2,640 megawatts coal-fired power plant (4* 660 megawatts) in Krishnapatnam, in Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore district, which operated at a plant load factor of 84% in the six-month period, Tuli said.

This is way above the industry average for thermal power plants in the country, which has hovered around the 55% range in the recent past.

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