April 22, 2016 / 9:31 AM / 4 years ago

Bankrupt SunEdison sticks to India growth plans - Asia head

MUMBAI (Reuters) - U.S. renewable energy company SunEdison Inc, which filed for bankruptcy Thursday, aims to secure partners for about 1.7 gigawatts of planned projects in India within two months, the head of its Asia business said on Friday.

The headquarters of SunEdison is shown in Belmont, California April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Noah Berger

Pashupathy Gopalan, president of SunEdison Asia Pacific, told Reuters the company had excluded India - its largest market outside the United States - from its bankruptcy process. As a result, it planned to keep growing in the country.

“Nothing really has changed other than that we will look for equity partners in our India projects and India business,” he said by telephone from the United States.

Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters last week that the company is in talks to sell stakes in the planned projects with India’s Adani Group and Finland’s Fortum. None of the parties have commented.

Gopalan did not comment on why India, which accounts for a fifth of SunEdison’s total business, was excluded from the bankruptcy. Officials at the U.S. parent did not immediately comment.

SunEdison was, at its peak, the United States’ fastest growing renewable energy group - expanding capacity through acquisitions and aggressive bidding, including in India, where last year it won a solar project in Andhra Pradesh state by offering to sell power at record low prices.

SunEdison currently has around 700 megawatts of projects financed and nearly constructed in India, with another 1.7 gigawatts of capacity to be completed in two years, Gopalan said.

Around 80 percent of the planned projects are solar and the rest are wind energy.

Gopalan said he was confident of striking partnership deals soon and would bid for new projects after that, a growth strategy questioned by industry analysts and consultants.

“SunEdison should try to complete existing projects so that it does not lose bank guarantees submitted during bids,” said Jasmeet Khurana, at solar consultancy Bridge To India.

A person familiar with SunEdison’s stake sale process said the company’s complex structure, where its units run some of its main assets, along with restrictions preventing companies from exiting Indian solar projects, would also keep suitors at bay.

Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Christian Schmollinger

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