Suzlon Energy seeks debt restructure after bond default

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 29, 2012 15:40 hrs

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Suzlon Energy , which defaulted on a $200 million convertible bond redemption earlier this month, has begun talks with senior secured lenders to restructure its debt over 10 years.

The world's fifth largest maker of wind turbines is negotiating for a two-year moratorium on principal and interest payments with banks, it said in a statement on Monday, a move that could help the beleaguered company streamline its debt and lower costs.

At the group level, Suzlon had net debt of 130.17 billion rupees at the end of June. It was not clear how much of this amount will be restructured by banks.

Bondholders earlier this month rejected a four-month repayment extension sought by Suzlon.

State Bank of India , which has about $659 million exposure to Suzlon, is the lead lender to the company. A senior executive at the bank declined to comment immediately.

Indian banks, especially state lenders, tend to help big companies get through tough times by easing loan terms through a corporate debt restructuring mechanism.

Suzlon said on Monday its ongoing discussions with bondholders continue to be "constructive and progressive", and it expects "an acceptable solution for all stakeholders will be reached at the earliest possible date."

Meanwhile, the company said it is suspending guidance for the current fiscal year ending March 2013 as liquidity constraints, a volatile market and the debt restructuring process are likely to impact its performance.

Suzlon has been under pressure in recent years from a slowdown in global turbine sales as well as its debt, and it has lost money for the past three years. While it has an order book of $7.2 billion, tight working capital squeezed its operations in the June quarter.

(Reporting by Swati Pandey and Prashant Mehra; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)

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