Transmission free in India? The Indian power sector has seen some peculiar situations in the last one year with many states turning power surplus for the first time in their history. This has caused some unique problems with distribution utilities in these states refusing to buy power from the renewable energy power plants set up […]

India’s Solar PowerIndustry is starting to see some M&A with both domestic and foreign companies buying smaller firms. While the biggest M&A story is that of Tata Power acquiring the stake in Tata BP Solar, other firms without any grounding in the energy industry are too getting in. Now a Coal Equipment and EPC company Tecpro is getting into the solar energy business by acquiring a small solar lighting and heating company Eversun.Tecpro Systemsis primarily focused on the Power Sector Space.It is a leader in the ash handling and material handling systems and is currently diversifying into becoming a turnkey provider in this segment.Like other infrastructure players it has seen amazing growth in the last 3 years at around 70%+.The growth has been fantastic both on the topline and the bottomline.The 2300 crore Order book provides some comfort over the next year’s revenues or so.The Power Sector in India particularly the Thermal Power Plants are expected to see an explosive growth period.Steel and Cement sectors are also growing strongly.With Tecpro Systems focusing on these 3 segments,it should be able to maintain a good growth trajectory in the future years as well

The Indian Solar Power Industry is starting to see some Solar M&A activity pick up as the sector starts maturing. The Indian Solar Energy Industry starting picking up pace in 2009 with the advent of the first phase of the solar federal subsidy which envisaged putting up 20 GW by 2022 (a figure which I think is too low btw) . A large number of companies entered the fray many of which were small . These companies hoped to profit from selling the licenses rather than being serious players. Many of these companies could not do so as the reverse auction process was quite competitive. A large number of companies also got started to take advantage of individual state subsidies from governments in Gujarat.

REC is looking to invest more than $600 million to set up 300-400 MW capacity in India and is already talking to the Himachal Pradesh government to set up plants there.REC has said that it is looking for power plants with a PLF of more than 50% which automatically rules out wind and solar energy.Its interesting that REC is concentrating on small hydro and biomass power capacity unlike other PSUs which are mainly concentrating on solar energy.India needs massive amounts of investment in renewable energy in order to meet its 15% Renewable Energy Obligation by 2020 from 5% at present.Its instrumental for the large government companies to invest heavily into clean sources of energy.Power Finance Corporation Green Energy has been set up by PFC to become one of the biggest lenders in Green Energy and now REC has also decided to directly invest in Green.More such initiatives will have to be taken to increase the cleantech energy capacity.

Solar Industry Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) have picked up pace in recent times with a number of companies in distress with supply exceeding demand as Italy suddenly changed its solar subsidy policy in April 2011.With high inventory levels and prices crashing only the biggest and best solar panel manufacturers are managing to thrive.Note the Solar PV Industry has not seen too much M&A unlike the Solar Thermal Industry which has always been a hot area for M&A activity as giant industrial groups like Siemens,Areva,Alstom and GE have bought startups to improve their technology offerings.With the Solar PV industry having crossed more than $50 billion mark in 2010,more and more MNC conglomerates have now starting buying solar companies at cheap valuations.Here is a list of the recent buyouts,stake buys and mergers in the Solar PV Industry that have taken place recently.

Power Finance Corporation (PFC) will raise ~$1 billion through a follow-on-public offer (FPO) which is the first divestment by the Government for FY12.Note the government of India has set a target to raise $9 billion through divestment of public sector (PSU) companies stocks.PTC India Financial Services another company operating in the same segment offering finance to power generation companies came out with an IPO.Despite advantages of growth,a good business model in India’s booming Energy Sector,the valuation of the company had been kept too high leading to 20-30% losses from the IPO price.However PFC does not have a high valuation trading for around 9-10x P/E which is comparable to the competitors like REC.However the valuation is not very low also keeping in mind the rising interest rate environment which is making life tough for the Indian Banks and financial intermediaries.Power Finance Corporation has substantial advantages of growth,a good business model in India’s booming Electricity Sector where the List of Power Companies are growing exponentially.The valuation of the company also has been kept at a reasonable level at a discount of around 5% from the prevailing stock market price.The growth of the company has been impressive but a rising interest rate environment,competition from other power finance government providers like IFCI,IDFC,REC makes the issue neutral.It is always possible to buy the stock later or buy competitors in the same space like REC.The stock is a good buy for the long term given the fundamentals,good business sector,however current short term macro problems does not make it a great buy currently.