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Matrix Partners to pick up 20% stake in Soham Renewable Energy India for Rs.70 crore

Soham is a power generating company purely focusing on renewable energy. It aims to be among India’s top three companies in this space. With a firm belief in the future of renewable energy, Soham has been directing its efforts in this regard for the past eight years.

 Soham has built and continues to operate India’s largest hydro power plant in the small hydro private sector. This plant is a 22MW plant located near one of Southeast Asia’s largest waterfall, Jog Falls in Shimoga, Karnataka and was commissioned in 2007.

The company has since developed a 15 MW, run of the river small hydro project located across Gurupur River , Moodabidri, Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka. This project was successfully commissioned during September 2009 .

According to the company, The D. E. Shaw group, a global investment and technology development firm, invested $15 million in Soham Renewable Energy India Private Limited to fund its expansion plan over the next five years. It has also raised commitments from FE Clean Energy Asia.

Soham Renewables has two projects – Mahadevapura Mini Hydel Scheme-6 MW run of river project located on Cauvery River, Mandya District, Karnataka and Mulibettu Mini Hydel Scheme a 10.5 MW run of river scheme located on Gurupur River in Moodabidri, Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka under implementation.

The company also has 5 other small hydro projects in Karnataka that are construction ready with all approvals.

We had mentioned in February this year that Soham Renewables is in talk with Macquarie SBI Infrastructure fund to raise upto $60 million. The proposed projects of Soham had all obtained licenses and clearances.

We have earlier opined that mini hydel projects though very attractive to private equity players because of  mature technology and attractive costs, have often turned out otherwise unless the due diligence goes beyond the usual into specifics of project, location, R&R issues and permits.

 However, in a rather surprising verdict, Bangalore High Court on Monday April 18, directed various hydel projects that have obtained permission from the state government to function in Western Ghats, not to go ahead with the execution of the projects until further orders. Not sure if any of Soham projects are in this list.

According to reports, Matrix Partners, a private equity firm from the US, is in talks to buy a 20% stake in Soham Renewable Energy India for 70 crore, valuing the company at 350 crore, people familiar with the discussions said. Soham Renewable Energy plans to produce power from hydro resources.

This is the fourth private equity funding that Soham would receive in three years. Matrix did not respond to e-mail queries and Soham could not be reached for comment, said the report.

The other private equity investors in the company are DE Shaw, FE Clean Energy and Praxair India. Soham has an installed capacity of 22 mega watts in Karnataka. It also has five hydro power projects under construction. The company had said it planned to raise as much as 700 crore for expansion.

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