IEEFA raises more Adani questions

THE campaign against Adani’s plans to build a massive, world-scale coal mine in Queensland’s remote Galilee Basin has been handed more ammunition with the company’s Indian power arm, Adani Power, posting a net $US129 million loss ($159 million) for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Staff Reporter

According to the US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Adani Power’s net interest expenses are rising 32% year on year to $852 million, which is more than $200 million in excess of earnings before interest and tax.

IEEFA Australia director of energy finance studies Tim Buckley described that as yet more evidence that does not bode well for the company’s plans to develop the Galilee Basin of northern Queensland.

Adani Power’s net debt reached $7.4 billion in April due to the group’s $1 billion acquisition of the 1.2GW Udupi coal power plant from Lanco Infratech and its down payment to buy another 600MW coal-fired power plant in India in 2015-16

In total, net debt was eight times Adani Power shareholders’ funds, IEEJA said.

“The results mean not only that Adani Power has lost money in each of the last four years but that Adani’s arguments for the benefits of vertical integration are looking even less realistic,” Buckley said.

“At the end of the day, risking another $10 billion to try to make good on a poorly timed initial $1 billion investment is looking increasingly unlikely in the face of the halving of thermal seaborne coal since 2010.”

Adani Power would generate the energy from the coal expected to be exported from Queensland.

IEEFA said the recent corporate restructuring of Adani Enterprises, which reduced Adani’s market capitalisation from $US11.8 billion to $US2.5 billion, means its odds of attracting financing for the Australian proposal are that much more remote.

It said Adani Power’s revenues had declined 22% year over year for some reason, and the company’s loss came despite the fact it paid no tax.

“Granted, Adani Power is only part of the Adani Enterprises group, but its sustained failure to generate returns for shareholders says a lot,” Buckley said.

“The underperformance is surely part of the conversation at Adani as executives re-evaluate the merits of investing more capital in a losing coal proposition in Australia.”

An Adani spokesman, who noted that the IEEFA was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, reiterated previously made comments on the strength of growing Indian coal demand.

“Contrary to the claims of anti-mining activists such as Mr Buckley about the decline in coal, in India around 16.6 million tonnes is being imported per month and an additional 22,566 mega-watt in generation has been added recently to India's generating capacity,” he said.

“Of that increased capacity, 92% is coal powered - with more to come.”

A global fossil fuels divestment campaign was boosted when the Rockefeller Brothers Fund aligned itself with the cause last year.