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Grapevine: Energy Efficiency Services mulls solar JV; Karaikal Port up for sale
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State-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) is in talks with oil major Royal Dutch Shell and at least two other companies for a solar energy joint venture that would invest Rs 40,000 crore ($5.3 billion), persons in the know told The Economic Times.

Going by a regular debt:equity ratio of 80:20, the joint venture would invest about Rs 8,000 crore to set up 5,000 MW decentralised solar plants with storage for low-cost electricity supply in rural India, the persons said.

EESL will hold 51% stake in the venture, they added.

The persons said the proposal includes setting up decentralised solar plants with storage on land provided by state governments to offer round-the clock power at an attractive price of Rs 3.50 per unit for 25 years.

Solar tariffs in the country have fallen to as low as Rs 2.36 per unit but they do not include various charges and are without storage.

In another development, Chennai-based infrastructure developer Marg Ltd aims to sell Karaikal Port in Puducherry at a valuation of Rs 3,000 crore ($400 million), two people with direct knowledge of the matter told Mint

Marg has appointed Ambit Pvt. Ltd to run the sale process.

“We hope to close the sale process by March 2021. With expected Ebitda of Rs 300 crore, the expected enterprise value won’t be hard to achieve, but capital is tight in these times,” said one of the two persons.

In 2006, Marg was awarded the contract by the Puducherry government under the build-operate-transfer model.

During 2012, private equity fund Jacob Ballas and Ascent Capital invested Rs 200 crore each in the port.

Also, during the same year, Standard Chartered PE invested Rs.130 crore.

As of March 2019, the Marg group held 14.21% in the port, while the remaining 85.8% equity was held by banks, foreign institutions, and venture capital funds.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s Sembcorp Industries Ltd is looking for a strategic investor for its stake in Sembcorp Energy India Ltd’s 2.64 gigawatt (GW) coal-fuelled power project in Andhra Pradesh, two people aware of the development told Mint.

It has hired Rothschild to find buyers.

Sembcorp is among the few foreign utilities that owns thermal power assets in India. Others include American firm AES and Hong Kong-based CLP Holdings.

Sembcorp Energy India also has 1.7 GW wind and solar power projects across seven states in India.

In December, Sembcorp Utilities agreed to buy the remaining 5.95% stake in Sembcorp Energy India from its local partner, Gayatri Energy Ventures Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gayatri Projects Ltd.

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