Debt-laden Indian wind energy solutions provider Suzlon Energy has finally received two critical lifelines from its lenders and bondholders.
Suzlon Energy recently announced that a group of banks had approved a debt restructuring plan ending months of speculation of future of the company. Multiple banks, led by India’s largest — State Bank of India — approved a plan to restructure Suzlon’s outstanding debt worth Rs 14,000 crore (US$1.8 billion).
Details of the restructuring plan have not been announced yet. However, the banks had earlier approved a proposal to convert some debt into equity on the condition that the company’s promoters invest an additional Rs 400 crore worth of equity (US$52 million).
Another lifeline to the company was thrown by its bondholders. Suzlon Energy had raised US$547 million through foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs). Unable to service its obligations to bondholders, Suzlon converted bonds worth US$375 million to equity in December 2018. However, the company defaulted on payments against the balance of US$172 million worth of bonds.
According to media reports, Suzlon managed to secure approval from its bondholders to agree to a reduction in current outstanding with a possibility of conversion of some outstanding balance into equity. The debt resolution proposal by Indian banks is conditional upon bondholders agreeing to the restructuring of outstanding bond commitments.
Following India’s shift from a feed-in tariff to a competitive auctions regime in the wind energy sector, Suzlon Energy failed to compete with a growing number of players. These include Inox Wind, Vestas, and Siemens Gamesa. Thus, despite an impressive service fleet of around 18 gigawatts worldwide, the company failed to get as much business as it used to get earlier. Suzlon’s revenue is now largely dependent on long-term service agreements it has with project developers. As part of the debt resolution plan, the company may have to sell some assets of its service fleet.