Grapevine: Adani may buy Essel solar plants; GIC plans $1 bn bet on India road assets
Photo Credit: Reuters

Essel Infraprojects Ltd has entered into a pact to sell about 310 megawatts (MW) of its solar energy assets to Adani Group for up to Rs 2,000 crore ($286 million at current exchange rate), two people aware of the development told Mint.

For Essel Infraprojects, a part of Subhash Chandra-led debt-laden Essel Group, this would be the third sale. The firm completed the sale of three road assets to Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) last month and sold two power transmission lines to Sekura Energy Ltd, a company owned by Edelweiss Infrastructure Yield Plus fund. 

Last January, renewable energy firm Greenko was in talks to buy Essel’s transmission business for $2 billion and later in that year private equity firm Actis was in talks to buy solar power projects of the company for up to Rs 6,000 crore. However, both deals failed to fructify.

In February 2019, Essel Infraprojects initiated talks with ACME Solar Holdings to sell these assets, but this deal also fell through.

Additionally, Essel Group has started the process to sell YO1 Centre, a New-York based luxury wellness destination, for up to $300 million (Rs 2,094 crore at current exchange rate), two people with knowledge of the matter told The Economic Times.

The 131-room resort, inaugurated by prime minister Narendra Modi through a video conference on World Yoga Day last year, offers 50 therapy rooms for six customised ayurvedic “pathways to wellness”.

The debt-laden Essel Group is planning to generate Rs 20,000 crore by selling its infrastructure business including roads, power transmission and solar energy assets to trim its and promoters’ debt. Chandra is also in talks with potential buyers to sell up to 50% of promoters’ holding in Zee Entertainment Enterprises.

Meanwhile, three lenders KKR India Financial Services, Altico Capital and Edelweiss are planning to save their combined exposure of up to Rs 1,000 crore ($143.3 million at current exchange rate) in SARE Homes, two people familiar with the development told The Economic Times. They aim to do so either by cashing out or bringing in strategic investors for specific projects of SARE Homes, which has brought construction work to a halt amid a severe cash crunch due to unsold inventory, the people added. 

SARE Homes is promoted by London-based global asset and real estate management firm Duet Group. 

The company in 2016 raised Rs 435 crore from non-banking financial company (NBFC) Altico Capital and global investment firm KKR.

The company received Rs 300 crore from Edelweiss in 2018.

In another development, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC plans to invest up to $1 billion (Rs 6,979 crore at current exchange rate) in India to buy operating toll and annuity road assets, two people aware of the development told Mint.

“GIC is in talks with a domestic group for partnership purposes," said one of the persons, asking not to be named.

GIC has already made huge investments in the Indian real estate sector and it has been focusing on infrastructure lately. 

In March, GIC joined hands with Tata group and Hong Kong-based SSG Capital Management to invest Rs 8,000 crore in airports business of GMR Group.

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