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Indian Renewable Energy Stocks – Bubble Bursting or Investor Panic

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Quick quiz. What is common to Suzlon, Moser Baer, Indo Solar, Websol Energy systems and Orient Green Power? All these stocks had successful runs on the stock market and hyped as the next game changers in wind energy, semi conductors, solar power and hydel/geo thermal power. Valuations were more on growth stories than through an hard nosed DCF spreadsheet. But now, they trade at record lows(like other stocks but what is different is the pressing fundamental concerns in each case). Is this a bubble finally bursting, or are investors panicking?

  1. Suzlon cherishes an ambitious vision of being the technology leader in the wind sector, and among the top three wind companies in all the key markets of the world. It expects that by 2015, total worldwide installation of wind energy would cross 442 GW which is almost 2.3 times of the current installation. This will cover about 7.5% of the global electricity supply by then, as opposed to just 4% now. But the solar bubble collapse in Spain, France and Germany(where subsidies were almost withdrawn) has put concerns on the very business model of solar(preferential feed in tariffs at peak hours(morning/noon)), as mentioned by First Solar in its 10K filing. So with gradual withdrawal of subsidies to wind energy generators, will Suzlon be able to regain pricing power for its equipment? Even in India, the most recent round of wind energy purchase tenders, saw bidders discount the CERC approved tariffs of Rs 17.91 by nearly 30%-35%, indicating that new players are willing to slash prices to gain market share. This would impact supplier pricing as well.
  2. Moser Baer, Indo Solar and Websol Energy systems, wanted to capitalize on the boom in demand for solar photovoltaic cells. Indo Solar wanted to take benefit of the 25% capital subsidy scheme for project capex over Rs 1,000 crores( as per the Special Incentive Package scheme announced by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India). But the global over supply(especially from China) backed by costs increases in key raw materials, led to EBITDA margin compressions, and short of domestic protectionism, I do not see a bright future for these stocks. While they are all trying vertical integration, entering into adjacent industries etc, the core business model is facing challenges due to global supply scenario, and price driven market.
  3. Orient Green Power is a slightly different proposition though. In 1H’12(Sep11 half year) alone, it added 80MW of wind energy, and had 300MW generation capacity(250MW wind+50MW biomass) in operation. However, with 250MW capacity wholly in Tamil Nadu and that State Electricity Board being in financial distress, investors seem to have discounted the stock which trades at P/BV of 0.5, despite its aggressive growth plans to reach 550MW capacity by Jun’12! At market cap of Rs 610 crores(with debt of Rs 190crores), the company had an EV of Rs 800 crores(assuming the Rs 170 crores of cash offset the current liabilities of Rs 195 crores, as the loans and advances of Rs 808 crores would presumably not be liquid), which would imply an EV of Rs 2.67 crores/MW, nearly half the estimated Rs 5.3cr/MW replacement cost of that capacity.

So have the factors affecting thermal power stocks(bankruptcy like status of SEBs, increased fuel costs, project execution delays) rubbed off disproportionately on these stocks as investors blindly herd together to sell power stocks? Or is it that the favourable economics may change? For export oriented equipment manufacturers like Suzon, the subsidy withdrawal story may play out, but for domestic generators, the national solar mission and other such plans would seem to give a secure price floor and assured market to sell the generated power.  These stocks are worth tracking though, as a hedge against the general power sector decline.

The paragraphs below features previous GWI takes on the above Green Stocks and is not part of Anand’s article

You can read about the GWI List of Green Companies in India

Previous GWI take on whether Suzlon is a falling Knife

Suzlon History

Suzlon,the Indian Wind Turbine making company has languished in red ink since the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.The company started by Tulsi Tanti in 1995 was a shining example of Asian CleanTech with a 10% global marketshare and ranking amongst the top 5 Wind Turbine Makers .Suzlon buoyed by its success had bought controlling equity stakes in Turbine Gears producer Hansen Transmission and European Wind Turbine producer Repower.Suzlon wanted to leverage Repower’s technological expertise to enhance its own product offering.Like other Indian companies with global ambitions like Hindalco,Tata Steel and Tata Motors,it took on a lot of debt to buy these companies at the peak of the global economic cycle.The GFC resulted in a twin whammy for Suzlon.On one hand its end markets collapsed as project financing disappeared and on the other hand its huge debt burden became unsustainable.The company has failed to recover from the GFC as competition in the Wind Turbine industry has increased with the rise of Chinese players like Sinovel,Goldwind and A-Power.With the 2 biggest markets of USA and China dominated by domestic players,Suzlon has become a shadow of its former self.While other Indian companies have recovered strongly with the Global Economy,Suzlon continues to lose huge amounts of money.Its recent 2Q10 results were quite bad resulting in the share shedding 6% to Rs 50.This is almost 90% below its peak price in the heady days of 2008 .So is Suzlon a Fallen Angel which could turnaround to become a multibagger or a Falling Knife luring investors into further losses.Here are the pros and cons of the argument.

Orient Green Power IPO Analysis

Orient Green Power Ltd (OGPL) is India’s Largest Green Utility and is one of the areas that is a good way to invest in India’s Green Energy Sector.The company is owned by the Shriram Group and a couple of PE Players will issue around Rs 900 crores (~$180mm) which will result in a market cap of $450mm.OGPL is a relatively new company setting up and acquiring most of its 200 MW capacity in the last year which comprised of 152 MW of Wind Energy and the rest is Biomass Energy.The company plans to increase this capacity 4 fold to around 1000 MW in the next couple of years with Power Plants in  India,Europe and Sri Lanka.The centerpiece of this expansion will be a 300 MW Wind Energy Plant in Tamil Nadu for which $10 million has been already been spent.The company’s past profits and cash flow have been negative which is not exactly a concern given that most of the capacity was set up in the last year or so.I like the company’s growth plans and the sector in which it operates.India suffers from a huge power deficit and Renewable Energy is being heavily promoted through Government Subsides and Renewable Energy Mandates by the CERC.Trading of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) should start in a year or so giving additional revenue streams to Green Energy Producers.Here are the pros and cons of the issue

 

(The author Anandh Sundar is from the IIM Ahmedabad 2010-12 batch, and a ranker in CA/CS/CWA exams. He blogs at http://financeandcapitalmarkets.blogspot.com/, and http://specialsituationsindia.blogspot.com/  and has a keen interest in investing)

PG

Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to greensneha@yahoo.in or call me on +913340606492.

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