India to set up $350 million fund to finance solar projects

Above, workers clean photovoltaic panels inside a solar power plant in Gujarat in this 2015 photo. India, which receives twice as much sunshine as European nations, wants to make solar central to its renewable expansion. (Reuters)
Updated 18 January 2018

India to set up $350 million fund to finance solar projects

NEW DELHI: India will set up a $350 million (SR1.31 billion) fund to finance solar projects, Power Minister R.K. Singh said, as the country steps up efforts to achieve its ambitious target of adding 175 gigawatts (GW) in renewable energy by 2022.
India will need at least $125 billion to fund a plan to increase the share of renewable power supply in the country’s grid by 2022, underlining the immense financing challenge ahead.
The country, which receives twice as much sunshine as European nations, wants to make solar central to its renewable expansion. It expects renewable energy to make up 40 percent of installed power capacity by 2030, compared with 18.2 percent at the end of 2017.
“The country would achieve its target of 175 GW of installed renewable energy capacity well before 2020,” Singh said on Wednesday at an event organized by the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in Abu Dhabi.
Installed renewable power capacity is currently about 60 GW, and India plans to complete the bidding process by the end of 2019/20 to add a further 115 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2022.
India’s Yes Bank has committed to financing solar projects worth $5 billion, while state-run NTPC will contribute $1 million to an ISA fund, the power ministry said in a statement.
India wants foreign capital to account for a bulk of its investments to meet its renewable energy target.
But industry experts say most of the financing for the country’s renewables drive so far has come from domestic banks and such banks have to account for the lion’s share of new renewable investments in the future.


Cathay Pacific shelves US dollar bond plans amid Hong Kong unrest

Updated 6 min 54 sec ago

Cathay Pacific shelves US dollar bond plans amid Hong Kong unrest

SINGAPORE: Cathay Pacific Airways has shelved plans for its first US dollar debt deal in 23 years, the airline said on Friday, after sources told Reuters that global investors had questioned the pricing due to civil unrest in Hong Kong.

The airline, the biggest corporate casualty of widespread anti-government protests in the Asian financial hub, on Friday lowered its second-half profit expectations, citing “incredibly challenging” conditions in its home market.

Cathay had started meeting investors in Hong Kong and Singapore on Sept. 24 after it mandated four banks to explore carrying out a US dollar denominated bond, according to a term sheet issued at the time, seen by Reuters.

It would have been the first US dollar debt deal for Cathay since 1996 and had been touted as a landmark transaction for the airline given all of its debt is denominated in Hong Kong dollars.

The issuance was to be unrated, and two sources with knowledge of the matter said that Cathay was willing to pay 200 basis points over the US Treasuries rate to secure three-year or five-year funding, with the size and term of the placement dependent on demand.

FASTFACT

12

Cathay has only carried out 12 bond transactions in the past decade and all were priced in Hong Kong dollars.

However, investors demanded a higher price of at least 300 basis points over US Treasuries, which made the deal more expensive for Cathay, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. Cathay’s term sheet had said the transaction would be reliant on market conditions. A Cathay spokesman on Friday said the Hong Kong dollar private placement market was providing more funding opportunities and a debt issuance in that market was completed last month. “We will continue to monitor the US dollar bond market in future,” he said in a statement.

Dealogic data showed that Cathay raised $102 million in October and $64 million in May through Hong Kong dollar denominated deals.

The airline has only carried out 12 bond transactions in the past decade and all were priced in Hong Kong dollars.

Cathay had mandated Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and HSBC to work on the shelved US dollar bond deal.