Aditya Birla Nuvo to sell 49% in renewables unit to Abraaj

Kumar Mangalam Birla-controlled Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd will sell 49% stake in its wholly owned subsidiary Aditya Birla Renewables Ltd to a unit of international private equity firm Abraaj Group to build a renewable energy platform focused on developing solar power plants in India.

The Abraaj Group is a leading private equity investor, managing approximately $9 billion of funds and operating in the growth markets of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Turkey.

Funds managed by the Abraaj Group have made over 140 investments across 10 sectors, including consumer, energy, financials, healthcare and utilities, its website said.

“As per the SSA, subject to the customary closing conditions and subject to the requisite approvals, Aditya Birla Nuvo and AEIF Mauritius SPV 1 Ltd will hold 51% and 49% of the paid up share capital respectively, in Aditya Birla Renewables,” Aditya Birla Nuvo said in the filing.

The deal comes at a time when the government is pursuing an ambitious target to generate 175,000 megawatts (MW) of green energy by 2022. Of the total 100,000 MW of solar power capacity planned, 20,000 MW will come from solar parks and 40,000 MW each from roof-top and distributed generation projects. The government plans to set up 25 such solar parks. India has around 300 days of sunshine per year.

In July, Japanese telecom and Internet company SoftBank Corp. said it will set up a 20 gigawatt (GW) solar power plant in Andhra Pradesh. SoftBank, along with Bharti Enterprises Ltd and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Co. Ltd, in June proposed to invest at least $20 billion in solar energy projects in India through a joint venture, SBG Cleantech.

The Gautam Adani-controlled Adani Group has also started acquiring land to set up a solar park in Tamil Nadu, tipped to be among the world’s largest, with an outlay of Rs4,536 crore.

In July, the board of Aditya Birla Nuvo had approved participation in the bidding process for upcoming central, state and private sector solar power projects.

The proposed entry into the power sector comes eight years after the group exited the power generation business when it sold two proposed 1,000 MW projects and liquidated another one soon after it had completed first-stage work, including land acquisition and environmental clearances.

India needs as much as $200 billion to meet its target of installing 100,000 MW of solar power capacity and 60,000 MW of wind power capacity by 2022.