S&W Solar Continues Repairwork On Reputation

Sterling and Wilson Solar, which has been through the proverbial ‘series of unfortunate incidents’ ever since its IPO, continues to build back its reputation, slowly. The firm, whose IPO price of Rs 780 back in August 2019 is now a distant memory for investors who have lost heavily, with the price down almost 90 percent from that time, was caught in a blowback after promoters failed to meet a commitment to repay debts to the firm.

In its latest filing to the stock exchanges, the firm, rated the world’s largest solar EPC solutions provider by IHS Markit, said  that it has received additional ₹500 crore against loans outstanding from Sterling and Wilson Private Limited (“SWPL”) and its subsidiary Sterling and Wilson International FZE (“SW FZE”), which was facilitated by Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Private Limited and Khurshed Daruvala (“Promoters”), as per the revised schedule of repayment approved by the Board of Directors of SWSL and communicated to the Stock Exchanges earlier. The proceeds have been utilized to reduce external borrowings by an equivalent amount. An amount of ₹1,000 crore had already been repaid from the date of listing till 31st December 2019. With this the total repayment stands at ₹1,500 crore (inclusive of principal and interest).

Bikesh Ogra – Director and Global CEO said : “When we announced our 9 months’ results in February 2020, we were one of the first few companies to have felt the impact of COVID19 pandemic, as the dispatches from China for the Solar PV panels and other equipment related to solar projects had been impacted. Even under those circumstances we had guided that the last quarter will be our best quarter for FY 20, both in terms of revenue as well as profits, which we are confident of achieving.The situation in China has improved substantially, ever since, and the dispatches for all equipment including the Solar PV panels have already commenced for countries currently unaffected by the lockdowns. However, that said, since our operations are spread over more than 25 countries, COVID19 is likely to affect, delivery of materials and project execution for the countries which continue to go under lockdown. We are monitoring the situation closely to see how to complete execution of the projects with the least of disruptions. “

While this latest repayment almost closes the chapter on events that have left the firm’s investor reputation in tatters, it remains to be seen how much time it will take for the firm to build back its own reputation. The current Covid-19 pandemic has already threatened whatever projections the firm had made for 2020.

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