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Tata Power Seeks Projects Outside India

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Tata Power, part of the diversified Tata group, is looking for power projects outside the country to sustain its growth, chairman Ratan Tata said on Wednesday.

The overseas investment push by Indian companies, often seen as the assertiveness of a rising power, is increasingly spurred by difficulty finding attractive opportunities in Asia's third-largest economy.

"We are also tendering quite actively on power projects outside India, where there is great demand, for growth," Tata told an annual meeting of shareholders.

Tata did not elaborate on the firm's overseas plans.

Tata Power is developing a 114 MW hydro power project in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan and has bought a 50% equity stake in a planned hydro power project in Nepal.

In 2010, it had won a bid for a 240 MW geothermal project in Indonesia in consortium with Australia's Origin Energy and Indonesia's PT Supraco.

Indian power developers are grappling with several problems in setting up new projects, such as delays in securing environmental clearances, farmers' opposition to land acquisitions and the soaring prices of imported coal.

Tata said the government needed to give the utmost priority to looking into the problems of the power sector.

"The government wants the private sector to play a major role in the (power) sector. Unless land is made available, we will not be able to play our role."

Tata said he expected the federal government to review the tariff structure for Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP) -- those with capacity of about 4,000 MW -- as coal prices have risen.

Australia's thermal coal prices, a benchmark for Asia, were flat at just over $120 per tonne in the week ending Tuesday, as weak demand kept trading thin.

Earlier on Wednesday, Citi cut Tata Power's target price to Rs. 1,290 from Rs. 1,462 and maintained a ‘buy´ rating on the back of higher input costs at its UMPP at Mundra in the western state of Gujarat.

In the June quarter, the utility posted 35% higher net profit from the previous year, at Rs. 419 crore.

Also in June, it raised $334 million from a perpetual bond issue besides having raised another $450 million in April to fund its capex.

The company's stock, which is valued by the market at $5.7 billion, closed down Rs. 4.42% at Rs. 1,038.30, underperforming the benchmark index , which ended down 1.29%, taking its cue from Asian peers.