Mixed Results

Financial performance of select renewable energy companies

Over the past few years, the Indian renewable energy industry has experienced overall growth. Falling tariffs and an increasing number of tenders have helped improve the business environment. However, this has not necessarily translated into major financial gains for companies. The imposition of safeguard duties, land acquisition and transmission issues, and the high cost of capital remain the biggest challenges for the sector, impacting the bottom line of companies.

Renewable Watch analyses the financial results of select renewable energy companies for the year ended March 31, 2019, and assesses their performance and growth prospects…

Azure Power

A leading solar power developer, Azure Power has a 3.35 GW portfolio of projects, of which 1.59 GW of capacity is operational and 1.76 GW is under construction, as of April 2019. In the quarter ended March 31, 2019, the company’s total income from operations stood at Rs 2,847.2 million, growing 26 per cent over the Rs 2,259 million recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2018. Its net profit stood at Rs 241 million, a 63.2 per cent decline over the Rs 147.6 million registered in the quarter ended March 2018.

For the year ended March 2019, Azure Power’s total income from operations recorded a growth of 28.9 per cent to reach Rs 9,926.2 million from Rs 7,700.6 million in 2017-18. During the same period, the company registered a net profit of Rs 138.5 million as against a loss of Rs 1,022.2 million in 2017-18. This corresponds to a growth of 113.5 per cent in net profit.

The company won 1,485 MW of projects in 2018-19 and about 400 MW in the quarter ended March 2019. It commissioned 539 MW of capacity during the year. The company procured 4,792 acres of land during the year and got approvals for interstate transmission system connectivity for 1.3 GW of capacity. It currently has 237 MW of projects under construction. In the next fiscal, 2019-20, the company plans to increase its operating capacity to 1.8-1.9 GW and revenue to Rs 12,770 million-Rs 13,350 million.

Inox Wind

Inox Wind’s total income from operations stood at Rs 1,841.4 million in the last quarter of 2018-19, against Rs 2,056.4 million in the corresponding quarter of 2017-18, marking a decline of 10.5 per cent. The net loss for the quarter, however, improved by 3.8 per cent to reach Rs 535.6 million in March 2019, down from Rs 556.6 million in March 2018.

During 2018-19, Inox Wind experienced a significant growth in its total revenues. The company recorded a total income of Rs 14,539.9 million for the year ended March 2019, a significant increase of 188.4 per cent over the previous year when it stood at Rs 5,042 million. The increase in revenues can be largely attributed to the execution of projects, despite the delay in central grid evacuation. Meanwhile, the company continued to register losses during the year. It recorded a net loss of Rs 399.8 million in 2018-19 as against a loss of Rs 1,876.1 million in the previous year, indicating an increase of 78.7 per cent.

The company entered into a technology agreement with Suzlon for its new 3.3 MW wind turbine, which is ideally suited for the low wind regimes in India. It will be supplying 152 turbines of these turbines to Suzlon. Its order book stood at 1,250.7 MW, with a cumulative value of Rs 70,000 million, to be realised over the next 18 months. Meanwhile, a significant part of Inox Wind’s operational turbines are nearing the end of their free operations and maintenance cycles, which is expected to add to the company’s cash flow.

OGPL

Orient Green Power Limited’s (OGPL) income from operations for the quarter ended March 2019 nearly doubled over the corresponding quarter in 2017-18, growing to Rs 880.1 million from Rs 441.8 million. The company also witnessed a significant correction in its net loss, which declined by 78.9 per cent, from Rs 729.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2017-18 to Rs 154 million in the corresponding quarter of 2018-19.

The company ended the year 2018-19 with a total income from operations of Rs 3,708.1 million, representing a decline of 7 per cent over the previous year. Its net loss, however, improved by about 32 per cent over the previous year to stand at Rs 486.4 million as against Rs 714.3 million in 2017-18.

OGPL’s wind power capacity stood at 425 MW and registered no growth over the previous year. Of this, 308.3 MW is located in Tamil Nadu, 75.4 MW in Andhra Pradesh, 29.2 MW in Gujarat and 1.25 MW in Karnataka. Another 10.5 MW is located in Europe. During the year, its annualised plant load factor stood at 18 per cent, a decline of 2 per cent over 2017-18.

OGPL is planning to take several strategic steps to strengthen its position in the segment in 2019-20. To improve its cash flow and liquidity, it is in discussions with financiers to offer lower interest rates for its upcoming projects and to extend loan maturities. It is also looking to refinance debt of around Rs 10 billion, which is currently at 13 per cent interest, to lower levels.

Suzlon Energy Limited

The quarter ended March 2019 saw a decline of around 33.7 per cent in Suzlon’s total income from operations. The company recorded revenues of Rs 14,507 million as against Rs 21,891.8 million in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Its net loss increased by about 635.3 per cent, from Rs 400.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2017-18 to Rs 2,964.4 million in the corresponding quarter of 2018-19.

The yearly results depicted a similar story. Suzlon’s total income for 2018-19 stood at Rs 50,746 million, a decline of 38.1 per cent from Rs 81,953.7 million in 2017-19. The company registered higher losses in 2018-19 as compared to the previous year. Losses grew from Rs 3,840.1 million in 2017-18 to Rs 15,371.9 million in 2018-19, an increase of over 300 per cent.

The company managed to commission only 1.5 GW of capacity. However, despite difficult conditions, it continued to retain about 35 per cent cumulative market share. It has around 12.5 GW of capacity under maintenance and closed orders for around 1.8 GW in auctions. The value of its order book stood at Rs 75,570 million. In fiscal 2019-20, Suzlon expects to commission 6-7 GW of capacity and in 2020-21, it plans to commission projects with a cumulative capacity of 8-9 GW. The company has set a target to reduce its debt by 30-40 per cent through strategic initiatives.

Conclusion

Azure Power ended the year on a strong wicket, turning around its net loss into net profit on the back of a large capacity commissioned during the year and a favourable business environment. The massive growth in Inox Wind’s revenues also suggests that corrective measures have begun working post the lull witnessed with the change in the wind power regime from feed-in tariffs to competitive bidding. Meanwhile, OGPL experienced a slight decline in revenues due to a shortfall in generation. Suzlon also recorded a significant decline in revenues and its losses piled up considerably.

Overall, 2018-19 was a mixed bag for the wind power segment while for the solar power segment it was a year of considerable growth. With a favourable policy environment, viable tariffs and improving grid availability, renewable energy companies are poised to witness significant growth going forward.

By Ashay Abbhi

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