Azure Power has announced its consolidated results for the fourth quarter (Q4) of the financial year (FY) 2020.
The company stated that its revenues stood at ₹3.67 billion (~$48.75 million), an increase of 29% compared to the same period last year. According to the company’s statement, the net loss for the quarter ended March 31, 2020, stood at ₹394 million (~$5.2 million) compared to a net profit of ₹241 million (~$3.17 million) for the same period in 2019. The company said that the results were negatively affected by the higher charges amounting to ₹551 million (~$7.3 million), which was partially offset by the revenues.
The adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBIDTA) for the quarter ended March 31, 2020, were ₹2.65 billion (~$35.1 million), which is an increase of 24% over the same period last year. The numbers were negatively impacted by additional expenses of ₹169 million (~$2.2 million) related to management transition and accruals related to stock appreciation rights.
Further, the company in its announcement said that the electricity generation for the quarter ended March 31, 2020, was 868 million kWh, an increase of 343 million kWh over the same period last year. The increase in electricity generation was mainly because of the additional operating capacity during the period driven by the commissioning of new projects. The Plant Load Factor (PLF) for the quarter and the year ended March 31, 2020, was 22.3% and 19.5%, respectively, compared to 20.5 % and 18.6%, respectively, for the same period in 2019.
The company said that during FY 2020, it commissioned 367 MW (AC) and 610 MW (DC) of solar projects. During Q4 of FY 2020, 4 MW (AC) and 11 MW (DC) of solar capacities were put into operation. The project cost (DC)/MW for the year ended March 31, 2020, decreased by ₹5.2 million (~$70,000), or 13%, to ₹35.5 million (~$470,000) compared to FY 2019.
The project cost (AC)/MW for the year ended March 31, 2020, was ₹48.9 million (~$650,000), compared to ₹50.4 million (~$670,000), for the year ended March 31, 2019.
This was mainly due to lower costs on account of the reduction in solar module prices for the projects commissioned during the period.
The cost of operation for the quarter increased by 29% to ₹329 million (~$4.3 million) from ₹256 million (~$3.37 million) in the same period in 2019. This increase in the cost of operations was primarily due to an increase in operational expenses from projects commissioned during the period from April 01, 2019, through March 31, 2020.
Depreciation and amortization expenses during the quarter ended March 31, 2020, increased by ₹340 million (~$4.5 million), or 67%, to ₹850 million (~$11.3 million) compared to the same period in 2019.
The total cost of debt during the quarter ended March 31, 2020, increased by ₹546 million (~$7.2 million), or 38%, to ₹1.9 billion (~$26.4 million) compared to the same period in 2019. This was primarily due to ₹401 million (~$5.3 million) cost of debt on borrowings related to projects commissioned in the current financial period. There was a lower interest income of ₹50 million (~$660,000) on account of lower free cash available during the quarter ended March 31, 2020. There was an additional ₹95 million (~$1.3 million) fee related to the refinancing of a loan.
The rupee depreciated against the U.S. dollar in the quarter ending March 31, 2020, due to which the company incurred an expense on foreign exchange of ₹188 million (~$2.5 million) compared to a gain of ₹17 million (~$226,063), during the same quarter in 2019. The company’s foreign exchange expenses increased because of the loss of ₹158 million (~$2.1 million) on the reinstatement of outstanding foreign currency loans due to the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, as compared to Q4 of 2019.
During the lockdown owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the solar projects of the company are said to have remained fully operational since electricity generation was designated as an essential service by the government. The payments for the electricity supplied have been received as usual. The company’s liquidity position is said to remain sufficient to continue normal operations through March 31, 2021. To boost liquidity, the company is exploring working capital lines and revolving credit lines with domestic and international financial institutions.
The company also mentioned that the project construction work, which had halted during the lockdown, resumed operation starting April 20, 2020. They expect some delay in the commissioning of these projects. But the counterparties for these plants have recognized the company’s force majeure claim due to which the company doesn’t expect to incur any penalty in case there is a delay in commissioning these projects due to the COVID-19 situation. The company also noted that the metal and module prices have declined due to a dip in global demand.
During the quarter, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), one of Canada’s leading institutional investors, acquired an additional 717,701 shares from a shareholder of Azure Power Global Limited. CDPQ now owns 24,259,272 shares of Azure, and this represents 50.9% of the total outstanding shares of the power producer.
Another positive development for the company during the quarter was the favorable order from the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) in the litigation regarding the 50 MW Karnataka project, where APTEL set aside the order of the Karnataka Regulatory Commission, wherein the KERC had reduced the extension of timeline for commissioning of the projects, reduced the tariff and imposed liquidated damages.
Earlier, Azure Power had reported a revenue of ₹3.05 billion (~$42.6 million) for Q3 FY20, an increase of 25% year-over-year, but the company still registered a net loss of ₹1.36 billion (~$19 million) for Q3 of the financial year 2019-20.
Rakesh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, he worked in many roles as a business correspondent, assistant editor, senior content writer, and sub-editor with bcfocus.com, CIOReview/Silicon India, Verbinden Communication, and Bangalore Bias. Rakesh holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).