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Siva’s wind turbine maker files for bankruptcy

According to reports, after being termed as the man with the golden arm who spots growth opportunities of a business in its infancy, C Sivasankaran’s bets on wind energy has gone sour. WinWinD, a wind turbine maker based in Finland, in which Sivasankaran holds controlling stake has filed for bankruptcy. The company is learnt to have run up debt of 300 million euros.

“WinWinD has submitted a voluntary petition on bankruptcy to the district court on October 3. The district court has allowed the petition and appointed attorney Pauliina Tenhunen as the administrator to take care of the further process,” a filing by WinWinD said.”The efforts of WinWinD in trying to arrange for necessary funding and approval for restructuring process has not been successful and hence this decision. This bankruptcy will affect a total of 130 employees from Finland and Sweden,” the company statement said.

While officials at Siva Ventures could not be reached for a comment, a source in the group said that the issue was a larger industry problem. “Today, every wind turbine company is in financial trouble. It is a sectoral problem. Sivasankaran tried to restructure the company, but with Europe going through a recessionary phase, banks were unwilling, which lead to the voluntary bankruptcy filing,” the source said and added that such filings are part of the system and should not be seen with any negative connotation.

“Only in India companies are not allowed to die,” the source said. The company is learnt to have bagged an order for 54 MW but could not deliver as funding challenges plagued its execution.

“We regret that the current international financial uncertainty and the decrease in demand in wind energy sector have made it difficult in recent years to develop the business, increase sales and reach profitability. We would like to inform one and all that as there was no other alternative in sight, the company had to resort to the decision to submit a voluntary bankruptcy petition,” the company statement said.

Sivasankaran entered WinWinD in 2006 when be bought controlling stake in the company. He acquired a 40% stake for 22 million euros. This was followed by a 120-million euro investment by MASDAR, a clean energy fund from Abu Dhabi, in September 2008, whereby the investor picked up nearly 40% stake. A Finnish Industry Investment fund holds a minority stake in the company.

WinWind, which sells a 1MW and 3MW turbines, has factories in Hamina in Finland and Vengal near Chennai.

This is Sivasankaran’s second business bet that has gone awry in recent times. The first, when Supreme Court cancelled 2G telecom licences of several telecom companies including S Tel, which Sivasankaran owned. He is now battling his fellow investor Batelco in a London court over settlement of dues.

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