Any Takers?

Saddled with debts of over Rs. 11 bn, the CEB is coming to the market again to securitise its future cash flows by borrowing over a billion rupees.
CEB tapped the capital markets last year and raised Rs. 1.4 bn through securitised paper, though it still relies on expensive bank overdrafts for working capital.rn

rnIncidentally, the CEB became the first utility company to securitise its cash receivables. rn

rnUnder the deal being structured by Citi National Investment Bank, the CEB will assign some of its bills receivables to an independent entity or a special purpose vehicle (SPV). rn

rnOnce the cashflows are secured to this SPV, it can issue securitised paper to borrow funds for the CEB. rn

rnThe bill receivables will be channelled straight to the SPV, which will use the money to pay back the borrowers. rn

rnCommercial paper and bank loans have been used by the state utility in the past, to plug its financial deficit.rn

rnThe state power monopoly, is keen to sort out its financial woes before it unbundles itself in April under the new Electricity Act. rn

rnThe power giant enjoyed healthy cashflows last year, due to ample rainfall and the government switching off expensive emergency power.rn

rnBut the situation has changed this year, with the government announcing on Wednesday that the CEB will switch to expensive thermal power, to conserve dwindling water reserves.rn

rnA bulk of Sri Lankas power is generated through inexpensive hydropower. But a delay in the North East monsoon, seen reservoir levels shrink to around 30 percent this week.rn

rnLast year, the CEB forked out Rs. 9 bn to hire 300 MW of expensive diesel fuel to meet the six-month drought. rn

rnThough no decision has been taken to hire out power as yet, another round of emergency power will put a further strain on CEBs wafer thin balance sheet.rn


-LBO Newsdesk: LBOEmail@vanguardlanka.comrn

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