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Sterling & Wilson bags AUD 615 mn solar EPC order in Australia

Mumbai, May 17 (PTI) Leading solar power generation company Sterling & Wilson Solar (SWSL) has bagged its largest EPC contract from Australia worth over AUD 615 million (over Rs 3,000 crore), including an AUD 85 million worth of operation and maintenance contract for 20 years.

For the Shapoorji Pallonji Group and Khurshed Daruvala family promoted company, this award comes within 15 months of its entry in Australia, which took its cumulative order book in that country to around AUD 1 billion (Rs 4,900 crore). With this contract, SWSL, which had been facing financial troubles after a default, also became one of the largest solar EPCs in this market.

While the multi-billion-dollar Shapoorji Pallonji Group owns 67 per cent SWSL, the rest is 33 per cent is owned by the Khurshed Daruvala family.

The company towards later 2019 landed in the default list after failing to honour a Rs 2,500 crore debt repayment obligation. Of this, the company had cleared Rs 1,500 crore including interest, as of early April.

It has also signed two projects in its home market in spite of COVID-19 pandemic driven lockdown with leading global independent power producers worth Rs 620 crore.

'This is our largest order in Australia and is a culmination of efforts to break new ground in countries like Australia, the US and South America, where we have invested in a strong team,' Bikesh Ogra, global chief executive of Sterling & Wilson Solar told PTI.

India continues to be a steady and focused market for us. Along with our growth in international markets over the past decade, we continue to remain a dominant player in the domestic market as well, he added.

'We hope to earn a substantial portion of our international revenue come from Australia, South America and the US where solar projects have resumed now,' Ogra said.

Renewable projects in India, which also add up considerably to its revenue, have been allowed to restart now. SWSL is in the process of handing over completed projects post-lockdown and starting other projects. The worst impact of the pandemic seems to have passed and the company is looking forward to book more orders now, the firm noted.

SWSL is a pure-play, end-to-end solar EPC and construction solutions provider with presence in 25 markets. It also provides operations and maintenance services, including for projects constructed by third-parties and is now planning big data centres. Its main markets span Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australia.

SWSL group chairman Khurshed Daruvala had recently said that the group betting big on the data centre EPC business to contribute a substantial portion of revenue of around Rs 17,000 crore.

'I expect our data centre vertical to contribute significantly to the group topline over the years and close fiscal 2021 with an order book of Rs 1,500 crore and revenue of Rs 800 crore.

'We're already the country's largest data centre EPC contractor, offering turnkey projects. With the massive investments coming into this segment from big domestic corporates and also foreign companies, we see huge potential for data centre business,' Daruvala had said in March.

It has already built data centres of Vodafone and the NSE in Chennai and NSDL in Bengaluru and is also building similar centres for some of the world's major cloud service providers. His optimism comes from the average 30 per cent growth that the industry is witnessing and huge investments are also likely to flow into this sector. PTI BEN BAL BAL