Fortum picks winner for India solar assets

India has an installed solar power generation capacity of 73.32GW. (AFP)
India has an installed solar power generation capacity of 73.32GW. (AFP)

Summary

  • Gentari, a unit of Malaysia’s Petronas, has emerged as the winning bidder for the Indian solar projects of the Finnish firm, totalling 185MW

Gentari Sdn Bhd, a unit of Malaysia’s state-run oil and gas company Petronas, has emerged as the winning bidder for the Indian solar projects of Finland’s Fortum Oyj, totalling 185MW, two people aware of the development said.

Gentari has been given exclusivity—for documentation of the sales process run by Kotak Investment Banking—for the deal at an enterprise value of around $200 million.

Mint had reported earlier that Gentari, Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC), Singapore’s Sembcorp Industries, Edelweiss Infrastructure Yield Plus Fund’s Sekura Energy and private equity firm Actis Llp were in the fray for the Finnish state-run energy power utility’s Indian assets.

These five bidders were shortlisted from 11 non-binding offers (NBOs) that were submitted. “Gentari, Actis, ONGC and Edelweiss had placed price bids, post which Gentari has been given exclusivity," one of the two people cited above said, requesting anonymity.

The deal has generated a lot of interest, given the power from these projects goes to state-run Solar Energy Corp. of India Ltd, NTPC Ltd and NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd.

Fortum India president Sanjay Aggarwal and spokespeople for Actis and Edelweiss declined to comment. Spokespersons for Kotak Investment Banking, Petronas, Gentari, ONGC and Sembcorp did not respond to queries emailed on Monday night.

Global oil companies such as energy giant Shell Plc, France’s TotalEnergies, Thailand’s PTT Group and Petronas have already established a presence in India’s green energy sector, as the conventional hydrocarbon space undergoes a massive disruption, with increasing focus on green hydrogen and energy storage.

Petronas set up Gentari in June 2022 to accelerate the adoption of clean energy and build a renewable energy capacity of 40GW, supplying 1.2 million tonnes per annum of green hydrogen and setting up electric vehicle (EV) charging points across the Asia-Pacific, with a focus on Malaysia and India.

Gentari has been actively eyeing green energy opportunities in India, a recent case in point being its plans to invest $1.5 billion in a unit of AM Green, set up by the founders of Greenko Group, Mahesh Kolli and Anil Kumar Chalamalasetty.

Petronas president and chief executive officer Muhammad Taufik visited India during the second edition of the India Energy Week that was held in Goa earlier this month.

India has an installed solar power generation capacity of 73.32GW, and a total estimated solar energy potential of 748GW. The Indian government has set a target of achieving 500GW of installed capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.

Given the ambitious scale of India’s green energy transition trajectory, foreign capital has been actively investing in the space. India has received foreign direct equity investments of $6,137.39 million in the renewable energy sector over the three financial years till 30 September 2023, according to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.

The green hydrogen sector in India also is gaining momentum and attracting investments, with the government launching the national green hydrogen mission last year with an outlay of over 19,000 crore, including support for manufacturing electrolysers and producing green hydrogen.

Several public sector majors including Indian Oil Corp. Ltd and GAIL Ltd, and private sector companies including ACME, ReNew Energy, Larsen & Toubro Ltd, Reliance Industries Ltd and the Adani group have announced plans for green hydrogen production

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