Suzlon considers floating Senvion on LSE

GERMANY: Suzlon is considering listing part of its German subsidiary Senvion (previously Repower) on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in a move to help pay off the parent company's debt.

A source with knowledge of the situation told Windpower Monthly that, while discussions are at an early stage, a flotation is an "option that is being discussed".

The source was unable to say what size of stake could be offered up to investors or a timescale for the possible move.

"Other options are on the table too," they added.

A spokesperson for Suzlon said that the company "does not comment on speculation".

Senvion has already been hit by its parent company's woes, with the manufacturer announcing 750 job cuts, 23% of its workforce, in April 2013.

Earlier in January Suzlon closed in on a deal with bondholders that would see it agree a cash-free settlement with the holders of $221 million worth of foreign currency convertible bonds.

However, the planned move will only get the company out of its immediate hole – that of addressing its default on the buyback of the bonds – through the issuing of $500 million new bonds.

The proposed deal would actually increase Suzlon's total debt, leaving it to look for other options to free up cash.

That total debt came to around INR 158 billion ($2.6 billion) in September 2013, up from INR 132 billion a year before.

Last year, the company entered into corporate debt restructuring in an effort to bring its finances under control.

As a result, chairman Tulsi Tanti announced plans to reduce operational and staffing costs by 20% as part of the so-called project transformation.

The company has been selling off "non-critical assets". The latest of these was a 75% stake in its Chinese subsidiary. It was sold at a reduced price compared with a proposed deal back in 2012.

Suzlon (excluding Senvion) has shed 3,000 jobs over the last financial year and cut of 29%. It has confirmed that further headcount reductions are being planned.

For the third quarter of 2013, Suzlon posted a 16.5% decline in revenue but showed it had made progress in cutting costs as operating and net losses were both reduced.