Representational image
Representational image

Sterling & Wilson Group have sought "a few weeks time" to repay the committed Rs 500 crore of inter-corporate loan to group entity S&W Solar, which was scheduled for June 30, saying the COVID-19-driven disruptions have delayed their fund-raising plans.

The promoter— Shapoorji Pallonji Company and the Khurshed Daruvala family — on Friday also reaffirmed their commitment to meet the original repayment schedule of clearing the entire outstanding of Rs 1,216 crore to Sterling & Wilson Solar (SWSL) by September 30, according to a letter that Shapoor Mistry and Khurshed Daruvala sent to the board.

Last December, SWSL and its subsidiary Sterling & Wilson International Solar, had informed stock exchanges that its group entities — Sterling & Wilson and Sterling & Wilson International — had sought more time to repay the intercorporate loan worth Rs 2,563 crore of which the principal was Rs 2,335 crore and the interest of Rs 228 crore.

Accordingly, they entered into a repayment schedule under which Rs 1,500 crore were paid back by March 2020 and the remaining Rs 1,104 core of principle and the Rs 112 crore of interest would be cleared in two instalments — Rs 500 crore by June 30 and the rest by September 30.

"In these extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances, while we continue to strive towards achieving the originally-agreed milestone of June, we apprehend that the next instalment of Rs 500 crore envisaged to have been paid by June 30, might spill beyond by a few weeks.

"However, we reiterate our commitment to complete the payment within the outer deadline of September 30, 2020," says the letter to the board which PTI has seen.

Accordingly SWSL, the only group company publicly traded, has informed the exchanges about the new payment schedule late last night citing the pandemic driven disruptions to economic activity in the country and globally leading to execution delays to their fund raising plan that was envisaged in December 2019.

After an investor call, SW Group chairman Khurshed Daruvala told PTI that "the likely delay is more to do with the difficulties in fund raising given the lockdown. And if the way the market has reacted (getting locked in upper circuit for the day, gaining 5 per cent) it shows that investors have reposed their trust in the promoters.

Bahadur Dastoor, the chief financial officer of Sterling & Wilson, said the two group firms have already repaid Rs 1,500 crore by end March and the remaining Rs 1,216 crore would be cleared by September 30 through a combination of debt and internal accruals.

Meanwhile, Daruvala said SWSL had won an order of USD 99 million in the US, taking the total order book as on date in the current fiscal to Rs 3,655 crore, which is more than a third of its total order book of the whole of last fiscal at Rs 9,000 crore.

Of the total order book since April, Rs 2,625 crore came in from Australia, Rs 750 crore from the US and the remaining Rs 280 crore from the country, he added.

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