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Blackstone, eyeing 10% stake in Moser Baer PV

PE players, including Blackstone, Warburg Pincus and Carlyle, are eyeing a 10% stake in Moser Baer Photo Voltaic (MBPV) business for a consideration of about $150 million. Moser Baer may look at options of spinning off the PV business as a separate entity and may subsequently look at an overseas listing for its PV arm.

When contacted by ET, MBPV CEO Ravi Khanna said: “While there is a lot of interest from PE players in the PV business, we have not yet reached the valuation stage. PV is a fast growing business worldwide and firms with good proposition do generate a lot of interests. As far as listing is concerned, there is no decision as yet.”

Mr Khanna emphasised that considering the interest that PV is generating worldwide, it’s no longer a business that small companies can pursue. “We see value in talking to people and understanding how financing and valuations of such businesses happens,” he added.

It may be pointed out that Warburg Pincus has about 35% share in the parent company Moser Baer India. MBPV recently announced commencement of commercial shipment of its solar PV cells. The company has MoUs and orders from customers in the US, Europe and South Asia. It already has commissioned a capacity of 40 mw, and another 40 mw will be added by the first quarter of 2008.

Solar PV is one of the hottest areas which is set to attract investments to the tune of $6-8 billion in India by 2010. Recently, California-based Signet Solar announced plans to invest $2 billion over 10 years to set up three PV manufacturing units in India. The global PV market has seen high growth and sales are expected to rise from $6 billion to $40 billion by 2010. Solar PV cell got a boost when the government announced incentives for semiconductor manufacturing, including tax exemptions and subsidies.

Taking advantage of the new semiconductor-incentive policy, MBPV has announced that it would invest $250 million to expand its solar-cell-making capacity. MBPV is scheduled to ramp up its solar PV cell capacity to 200 mw in 18 months from the current 40 mw.

Source : Economic Times

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