Chennai-based Empee Group of Companies is planning to set up a mega thermal power project of up to 1,320 Mw in Tamil Nadu with an investment of around Rs 6,500 crore.
The group has interests in Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL), sugar, power and hospitality businesses. Its power division currently has two co-generation plants and a biomass plant with a total capacity of 80 Mw. With the increased tariff for electricity, the company sees a growth opportunity in the power sector.
“We are in the initial stage of planning the project. Plans are on the cards to commence work on the plant in the next six months and complete the project in the next three years,” said Nisha Purushothaman, vice-chairperson of the Empee Group.
“Earlier, the tariffs were low while the coal was expensive. Now, the rates have started picking up with revised tariffs. Hence, we see an opportunity in this segment,” she said, adding that basic formalities for the project had been completed, including obtaining the basic permissions to start the project.
The group will be looking at various fund-raising options. Investment bank and project advisor SBI Capital Market Limited is advising the company on the fund-raising, including equity investment and joint ventures.
Empee Group, which is currently importing coal from Indonesia for its power plants, will also look at arranging its own coal base.
Empee Group, which currently has a turnover of around Rs 1,500 crore, is expecting to double the turnover in the next three years by consolidating various businesses, which are currently under expansion and restructuring.
The company, which has recently re-entered the beer market, will start operations in its brewery unit in Chennai within the end of this month. It is in the process of coming up with its own beer brands.
The group had spent around Rs 400 crore in the last two years in expansion, including setting up Hilton Hotel in Chennai in collaboration with global hospitality player Hilton.
The company is also in the process of restructuring its business. As part of bringing in its listed companies under a single entity, it is planning to merge Empee Distilleries Limited (EDL) and Empee Sugars and Chemicals Limited (ESCL). The merger will vest all assets, liabilities and business of EDL with ESCL. The sugar assets will be pushed down as a 100 per cent subsidiary of the merged entity.