UiTM confident of meeting financial obligations on its solar PV plant in Gambang

UiTM Holdings Sdn Bhd’s (UHSB) wholly owned subsidiary, UiTM Solar Power Sdn Bhd (USP), is confident of meeting all of its upcoming financial obligations following a seven-month shutdown due to equipment malfunction between November 2021 and June 2022.

UHSB owns and operates a 50MWac large-scale solar photovoltaic (LSSPV) power plant in Gambang, Pahang, known as UiTM Solar Park l (USP l).

UHSB Group CEO Muhammad Mubarak Ishak, was replying to the recent announcement by the Malaysian Rating Corp Bhd (MARC) Ratings that it had removed USP’s Green SRI Sukuk rating from MARCWatch Negative placement and concurrently lowered the rating to A+IS from AA-IS with a negative outlook. USP’s current Green SRI Sukuk outstanding is RM192.3 million.

“USP is confident of meeting all its upcoming financial obligations since the plant is operating without major issues since re-energisation and the company has been generating revenues since June 2022.

With the insurance settlement offer expected in December 2022, USP is confident of meeting its next sukuk profit and principal repayment scheduled for April 2023 without any issue,” said Encik Mubarak.

He added that USP is confident of receiving a final settlement offer (from claims relating to the gas-insulated switchgear [GIS] and transformer malfunctions) of up to policy sub-limit in the second half of December 2022.

The long lead time between filing and conclusion of USP’s insurance claim is to be expected given the very large claim size and complexity of investigation.

Final preparation before starting to re-energise. USP I in Gambang has a generation capacity of 61MWp and successfully achieved commercial operation on April 5, 2019

To date, USP has received an interim settlement offer of 10% of the estimated material damage claims.

USP takes comfort in the fact that this indicates the equipment malfunctions were due to a sudden and unexpected external cause, and not due to inadequate or improper operation and maintenance.

MARC has announced that it would continue to monitor developments and take the appropriate rating action when necessary.

The rating outlook would be revised to stable if the plant continues to demonstrate operational performance in line with P90 projections and strengthens its liquidity buffer.

Earlier in January 2022, MARC had placed USP’s Green SRI Sukuk rating of AA-IS on MARCWatch Negative after the plant became non-operational in November 2021 due to an unexpected malfunction of its GIS and power transformer.

According to MARC, the rating downgrade reflects USP’s weakened liquidity position following the prolonged shutdown and the fact that the proceeds of the insurance settlement relating to the GIS and transformer malfunctions have yet to materialise to date.

MARC’s negative outlook considers UiTM Solar’s thin liquidity buffer and its reliance on consistently healthy operating cashflows from the plant to meet working capital and financial obligations.

MARC notes, however, that the plant has managed to record operational performance largely in line with projections since resuming operations at full capacity in mid-August 2022, averaging an availability of 99.1% up to end October 2022.

UiTM Solar Park I (USP I) in Gambang has a generation capacity of 61MWp and had successfully achieved commercial operation on April 5, 2019. UiTM Holdings’ second LSSPV power plant known as UiTM Solar Park II (USP II) with a generation capacity of 31MWp, which was undertaken by UHSB’s 100% subsidiary, UiTM Solar Power Dua Sdn Bhd (USPDSB), had successfully commenced commercial operation on Dec 2, 2020.  

USP I and USP II were both awarded by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA or now known as Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources — KETSA) through Energy Commission Malaysia via LSS competitive bidding exercises.

Both power plants, USP I and USP II, were developed by UHSB’s wholly owned subsidiaries, USPSB and USPDSB, respectively. The subsidiaries are part of UHSB’s energy division which is principally involved in renewable energy, energy efficiency and green technology businesses. – TMR / pic source: UiTM Holdings