SunEdison in talks to sell Indian solar stakes to Fortum: sources

The headquarters of SunEdison is shown in Belmont, California April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Noah Berger

MUMBAI (Reuters) - SunEdison Inc SUNE.N is in talks to sell minority stakes in its Indian solar projects to Finland's Fortum FUM1V.HE, two sources said, as the U.S. firm seeks funds to finish proposed plants in India amid concerns about its finances at home.

Heavily indebted SunEdison, once the fastest growing renewable energy developer in the United States, could soon file for bankruptcy protection, according to one of its publicly listed units.

Fortum, a state-controlled utility, said on Tuesday it planned to invest 200-400 million euros ($225-$450 million) in solar projects in India and would look at developing large new projects or consider partnerships.

Fortum is interested in taking stakes in SunEdison’s projects, including a proposed 500-megawatt (MW) plant in Andhra Pradesh state it won last November after an aggressive bid, said the two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Fortum spokeswoman Sophie Jolly declined to comment on any talks with SunEdison, but said it was “normal that there would be rumours and speculation around our interest in any solar, and particularly now in India”.

SunEdison said in an email it was in discussions for equity partners in its projects but declined to name any investor.

The company has around 600 MW of projects constructed and financed in India, with plans to build another 1,700 MW in the coming year, according to one of the sources.

SunEdison has also drawn preliminary interest from Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s fast-expanding Adani Group, though a person close to Adani said the low tariff agreed for the Andhra plant would make any deal hard for Indian firms.

Goldman Sachs-backed Indian renewable energy company, ReNew Power, is also in talks with SunEdison for the assets, the Hindu newspaper reported on Thursday. One of the sources also reported the talks, but ReNew declined immediate comment.

Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Mark Potter