German energy firm to invest $133 mn in Indian power plants


New Delhi : Evonik Energy Services, the Indian arm of German power generation major Evonik Industries, Monday said it plans to pick up equity worth about $133 million (Euro 100 million) in various power projects where it is involved as an engineering and services partner.

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The company will make the strategic investments as a minority partner and will continue to concentrate on its key areas of operations in India — design and engineering, operations management and providing IT services.

“We are prepared to take up equity in specific power plants, because our clients get added reassurance if they know we have put in our own money,” said J.T. Verghese, managing director of Evonik Energy Services.

“So we will look at picking up minority stakes, which will typically be in the range of 10-20 percent. Each investment for plants will not exceed $33.2 million (Euro25 million) and total investment could be around Euro 100 million in the next two-three years,” added Verghese.

Evonik Energy has just concluded a large operational and maintenance contract with Sterlite Energy for its 2,400 MW coal-fired power plant at Jharsuguda in Orissa. The deal is reported to be around Rs.1,400 crore.

“I will neither confirm nor deny the figure. But its close,” said Verghese.

Evonik has also signed an IT diagnostics and systems optimisation pact with state-run power generation major NTPC for installation of such a package at about 30 power plants of 500 MW.

“These systems can diagnose and predict before a fault happens and help in improving efficiency. A one percentage increase in efficiency in a plant can increase profit margins by as much as 20 percent,” said Verghese.

The company is also looking at the non-conventional energy space with great interest and said that it is scouting for solar-thermal power projects wherein it could be the dominant partner.

“We might be interested in majority stakes in solar-thermal power projects. But this sector itself is in early stages and hence it is premature to name them,” said Verghese.