Azure Power is looking for a new chairman and CEO after Inderpreet S. Wadhwa announced his retirement earlier this week. Azure, one of the most aggressive solar players in India, has around 3,000 MW (1,400 MW operational) projects in different stages. The company bagged 11 per cent of the 13 GW solar auctions, which happened last year and was next only to Manoj Upadhyay-led ACME Solar (16 per cent) and SoftBank Group's SB Energy (15 per cent).
Wadhwa cited personal commitments as the reason to move on. He had launched Azure in 2008. Today the group has projects across 23 states, including Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, and Uttar Pradesh.
The new CEO will have to maintain the same pace, which may be difficult. In fact, he will also have to work on improving the efficiency of existing projects as well as improve margins. By the end of the third quarter of 2018/19, the company had reported a loss of Rs 10.25 crore for the nine months.
Azure Power is the only Indian company listed at NYSE. In October last year, the company sold 14.8 million equity shares through a public offering at $12.50 a share, nearly 25 per cent less than its opening price of $16.12 at the time of listing in 2016. Its domestic competitors such as Renew Power and ACME Solar have been unsuccessful with their IPO attempts in the past two years.
The sector itself is battling challenges of dipping tariffs, unfavourable policies and the squeezing of interests by bankers to fund projects. Market insiders say the company is growing much faster than its capabilities and has been often criticised for the aggression. According to them, the new CEO will need to balance the aggression with the company's ability to finance the projects.
"We are committed to grow and execute this pipeline as planned. The company is well funded from the recent round of financings and going forward we do not anticipate any impact to our business growth," Azure stated in their official communique.
The company's statement clarified that going forward, there will be no changes to their business plan and strategy and they would continue to execute their plans and would honour the commitments made prior to the announcement. The announcement underlined that Wadhwa will continue until a new successor is named, or till December 31, 2019, whichever is earlier. Till then he would stay with the organisation as an adviser.