New York / Mumbai / New Delhi, 25 July, 2011: The Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) today announced that it will be investing INR 5,000 million (c. USD 111 million) in VISA Power Limited (“VPL”, “VISA Power” or “the Company”), an independent power producer (“IPP”) whose core asset is a 1,200 MW captive-mine based, coal fired power plant in Chhattisgarh which is in an advanced stage of development. VISA Power has a pipeline of a further 6,600 MW under development, including a 1,320 MW coal-based super critical power plant in Orissa, which is also in an advanced stage of development. The Company also proposes to develop power projects in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Gujarat. VISA Power is part of the INR 50.0 Bn ($1.1 bn) VISA Group, which is a minerals, metals and energy conglomerate with business interests in steel, power, mining, international trading, shipping and logistics.
Commenting on the association, Vishambhar Saran, the Founder and Chairman of the VISA Group, and Chairman of VISA Power said: “The Power sector in India is going through an exciting phase of growth which is critical to sustain the country’s high levels of economic and industrial growth, and unlock India’s economic potential. We are glad that Blackstone shares our vision. Hopefully, together we can create a leading power company.”
Vikas Agarwal, the Managing Director of VISA Power added: “We are delighted to partner with Blackstone, one of the world’s foremost private equity investors. Our portfolio of projects in coal rich states, combined with Blackstone’s deep understanding of the power business both globally and in India, and their commitment to sharing knowledge and bringing global best practices to their portfolio companies will add immense value to our young and growing company. Together, we hope to form a long and mutually beneficial partnership.”
Akhil Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director of Blackstone Advisors India Private Limited, said: “Investing in the development of infrastructure in India has long been a theme of ours at Blackstone. India needs an investment of c.$200 bn in the power sector, of which c.$50 bn is required in equity, if the country is to continue its rapid economic growth.” Mr. Gupta also added that: “We believe that VISA Power’s core Chhattisgarh plant with its captive mine will have a very competitive cost of generation, and will be among the better positioned IPPs in the country. In addition, we have been impressed with the track record of VISA’s promoters and its management team in developing and executing greenfield projects.”
About VISA Power Limited and The VISA Group
VISA Power Limited: VISA Power is a power producer that has 2,520 MW in advanced stages of development, and a further pipeline of 5,280 MW in early stages of development. The Company’s core 1,200 MW Chhattisgarh plant has already secured all the required land, water allotment and other necessary approvals. Financial closure for the first 600 MW unit is complete, and for the second unit is in an advanced stage of completion. It has placed orders for BTG on BHEL and for BOP on Larsen & Toubro. The Company’s core plant has been allotted 22% of the coal from the Fatehpur East Coal Block. The Chhattisgarh plant is scheduled to be commissioned in 2013-14.
VISA Group Limited: The VISA Group is a INR 50 bn ($1.1 bn) revenue conglomerate with interests in minerals, metals and energy. The VISA Group was founded by Mr. Vishambhar Saran, an iron and steel and mining industry veteran with over 40 years of experience, including 25 years at Tata Steel, where he was Director of Raw Materials. The VISA Group’s principal activities include manufacturing and marketing of special and stainless steel and ferro chrome through publicly listed VISA Steel; international trading, shipping and logistics of bulk industrial raw materials and products such as steam coal, coking coal, iron ore, ferro chrome, pig iron, etc. through VISA Comtrade, and development and operation of power generation plants through VISA Power. Further information is available at http://www.visa-group.com.
Blackstone is one of the world’s leading investment and advisory firms. We seek to create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, the companies we invest in, the companies we advise and the broader global economy. We do this through the commitment of our extraordinary people and flexible capital. Our alternative asset management businesses include the management of private equity funds, real estate funds, hedge fund solutions, credit-oriented funds and closed-end mutual funds. The Blackstone Group also provides various financial advisory services, including financial and strategic advisory, restructuring and reorganization advisory and fund placement services. Further information is available at www.blackstone.com. Follow us on twitter @blackstone.
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