CESC charts $470M expansion plan; eyes acquisitions for power generation business

Power utility CESC, which is increasingly focusing on renewable energy, has decided to pump in Rs 3,000 crore over 18 months to expand its capacity in this area to 500 MW.

The company is also "evaluating opportunities" in thermal generation and is in talks with the owners of some stressed power plants.

"We will expand renewable energy capacity to 500 MW by investing Rs 3,000 crore. We are developing small wind and solar projects and also looking at major solar and wind projects in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh," CESC chairman Sanjiv Goenka said after the AGM.

Currently, the company's renewable energy capacity is a meagre 74 MW, both solar and wind. The total capacity, including thermal of CESC and its subsidiaries, is 2,500 MW.

Goenka said the company was evaluating 'stressed' thermal power projects.

"We are evaluating opportunities. We are in talks with a couple of stressed power plants owners," he said without divulging further.

About CESC's retail arm Spencer's head Shahwat Goenka said the company made profit for the first time in May and was hoping for a sustained profitability shortly.

However, the Maggi controversy had impacted the sales by Rs 4-5 crore a month, he said.

The retail arm's sales per sq ft stood at Rs 1,470 during April-June, compared to Rs 1,350 in the corresponding quarter a year ago, he said.

The retail major was looking to add 475,000 sq ft of trading area in the current financial year (2015-16) by adding 12 new hyper format stores in east and south India.

Of these 12 stores, the company has already opened three stores in the April-June quarter while it plans to add another 3-4 stores in the current quarter.

Unlocking of value of Spencer's seems closer, Sanjiv Goenka said without disclosing the route (IPO, mirror demerger or any other option) the group will adopt.

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