Axis Bank, which has the largest exposure to Echanda Urja Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd, has sold part of its loans to government-owned Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and Central Bank of India in 2017-18, in a bid to reduce exposure in the company.
When contacted, an Axis Bank spokesperson said: "As a policy, the bank does not comment on client specific exposures. You may refer to the credit ratings of the company, according to Care Ratings."
Care Ratings rated Echanda Urja’s debt instruments worth Rs 4.75 billion as “A Minus” with stable outlook on February 28 this year.
An email sent to NuPower Renewables did not elicit any response.
An Axis Bank official said the loans were sold as part of the bank's ongoing process to restructure its portfolio. The loan was taken over in 2015 as part of refinancing of earlier loans taken by the company from public sector banks, the source said.
The sale of loans by Axis Bank follows NuPower Renewables restructuring its loans with banks led by Central Bank of India and Canara Bank in 2015. Loss-making NuPower Renewables, owned by Deepak Kochhar, husband of ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar, is currently making news for all the wrong reasons.
Deepak Kochhar, NuPower Renewables and Videocon group Chairman, Venugopal Dhoot are currently facing a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) preliminary enquiry for Rs 640-million loan given by Videocon group to NuPower in 2012.
On Tuesday, Axis Bank MD & CEO Shikha Sharma requested the bank's board to reduce her three-year tenure starting June 1, 2018. She will now step down in December this year.
According to consolidated figures submitted by NuPower Renewables for 2016-17, Axis Bank had an exposure of Rs 3.89 billion in the company. Besides many public sector banks also gave loans to the loss-making firm. These include Central Bank of India (exposure of Rs 3.32 billion) and Canara Bank (Rs 880 million).
Private lender Indiabulls Housing Finance, too, had an exposure of Rs 250 million, as on March 2017. The unlisted company has not filed its figures for 2017-18.
NuPower operates two subsidiaries: Echanda Urja and NuPower Wind Farms. Echanda Urja had acquired 100.50 megawatt (mw) of operational wind assets from NuPower in April 01, 2015. These assets are located at Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. Echanda has not defaulted on any loans for 2017-18, a source said.
In 2015, NuPower hived off 34 Mw of its capacity into its subsidiary, NWFL, and 100 Mw into Echanda Urja.