The promoters were to pay their instalment of Rs 500 crore by June 30, but have now asked for time till September 30. In a letter to the Sterling board, SP and Daruvala said that Covid-19 has caused “execution delays” to their fund-raising plan. “While we continue to strive towards achieving the originally agreed upon milestone of June 30, we apprehend that the instalment of Rs 500 crore might spill beyond June 30 by a few weeks.”
SP had initiated a fundraising programme that included stake-sales in some of its projects, but the pandemic is delaying closure of deals, impacting asset valuations and curbing the risk appetite of strategic buyers.
The June 25 letter further said that while there is still a possibility of being able to pay back Rs 500 crore by June 30, in the event of a delay, the promoters would like to reassure the Sterling board that they remain committed to facilitate the payment and will do so within the outer deadline of September 30.
SP and Daruvala together owed Rs 2,563 crore to Sterling. They have repaid Rs 1,500 crore so far and planned to clear the remaining Rs 1,063 crore through instalments. The stock of Sterling, one of the largest solar power installers in the world, is currently trending at Rs 200 — up from its all-time low of Rs 70 at the end of fiscal 2020.
Some of the Indian promoters have been facing liquidity crises after business activities came to a standstill due to the pandemic. They have been asking for relaxation in repayment terms as they would prefer to preserve cash to brace themselves for the challenging months ahead.
Even as business restrictions are eased in many parts of the world, some industries are skeptical whether demand will return to pre-pandemic levels quickly.