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Vestas €1bn Suzlon offer deadline passes with no deal: report

Valuation at centre of difficulties closing deal for majority stake in Indian group, says local media

An offer by Vestas to take control Indian wind group Suzlon lapsed without agreement, Indian media reported, days after a Suzlon stock exchange filing confirmed it has received an approach by a potential investor.

A deadline of 3 June to agree a deal between the two wind OEMs came and went without agreement, claimed Indian financial news outlet CNBC-TV18, citing unnamed sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

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Vestas had offered a package worth almost €1bn ($1.13bn) for a majority stake in Suzlon, according to CNBC-TV18, which claimed valuation of the Indian business was the root of the impasse. Suzlon shares were about 11% lower in mid-afternoon trading in Mubai.

Reports that the Danish onshore wind giant was interested in buying into Suzlon first emerged in February. Vestas at that stage did not confirm or deny the talks were underway, but said that although its strategy is based on organic growth, it is “open to additional bolt-on opportunities to accelerate our growth strategy should such arise”.

A Vestas spokesperson told Recharge in reaction to the latest reports: “As stated previously, Vestas’ strategy is based on organic growth and as the market leader our focus remains on executing an extraordinarily busy 2019. We will give no further comment on such speculation and refer to Suzlon for more clarity on their situation.”

A Suzlon spokesperson told Recharge: “We are committed to reducing our debt and are progressing on strategic initiatives being undertaken. We do not comment on specific discussions with any specific party at this point. We shall ensure necessary disclosures at the appropriate time.”

Whoever is involved, it is now clear that Suzlon was the subject of an approach from someone.

An auditor’s report released by Suzlon on 30 May said the company “is working towards a resolution plan with the lenders and has received a nonbinding offer from a potential investor, which we are informed is currently valid till June 3, 2019 (the terms of the non-binding offer provide for extension of the validity period of the offer on an exclusive basis as may be mutually agreed by the parties)”.

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The auditor’s report added the offer “envisages infusion of additional equity in the company, purchase of a business line by the investor and considerable amount of waiver of the debts by the lenders (including FCCBholders), which will enable the company to scale up its operations and meet the remaining financial obligations”.

Suzlon was once tipped as a global rival to Vestas, but heavy debts hobbled its plans for widespread international expansion earlier this decade.

The company is, however, still a major player in its home market, where it has 12GW of capacity under its wing and claims the largest backlog in the Indian wind industry thanks to success in state and national auctions.

Vestas has enjoyed renewed momentum in India over the last two years after reentering the market, following a initial foray earlier in the decade that was derailed by legal issues. That left it playing catch-up to rival Siemens Gamesa, which had carved out a leading position before an abrupt switch from subsidies to competitive procurement brought the entire market to a juddering halt.

Note: Update adds comment from Vestas, Suzlon

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