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Strategic decision partner on a billion-dollar acquisition in India

How we helped a leading European wind turbine manufacturer in its decision to make a brownfield investment, to expand its base in the Indian wind market?

CLIENT

The client is a leading European wind turbine manufacturer, with over five decades of experience in the industry and global presence. MEC+ has been a regular strategic support partner to the client encompassing several engagements in the past.

CHALLENGE

As India continues to be a fast-growing wind market with a strong future potential, the client is interested in expanding its market presence through brownfield investments in localized assets. Initially, the focus was on getting a market valuation of a selected target company’s asset base in India. However, as the conversations with the target unfolded, the client started contemplating over a proposal of complete acquisition of the target. This idea led the client to get a full due diligence done on the target’s commercial competency and competitive positioning in the Indian wind market.

The client reached out to MEC+ to conduct a full market and commercial due diligence of the target, answering two key questions-

  1. How realistic is the quoted valuation of the target’s asset base?
  2. What is it’s competitive and commercial positioning in the market?

MEC APPROACH

We leveraged our experience and knowledge in the Indian wind market to quickly understand the key criteria to win in the Indian wind market. We started off with understanding the target’s landbanks and their commercial competitiveness in the market. In parallel, we built understanding on the target’s internal operations, bid strategy and customer landscape, and plotted these in the market frame. These two areas were chosen for deep analysis, as they were identified to play a pivotal role in the company’s valuation and its performance in future. MEC+ adopted a 4-point approach, covering the target’s internal as well as external view with respect to the market dynamics. The questions were broken down as follows:

Test Target’s Market growth assumptions

Comparing the target’s internal capacity forecast with our own by customer segment

  • Capacity growth scenarios for each customer segment till 2022
  • Growth levers by customer segment
  • Risks and challenges to the anticipated growth
  • State-wise capacity split for each segment
Asset Analysis

Valuation of the target’s landbank:

  • Segmentation of the landbank and relevant procurement models
  • State-wise landbank allotment and connectivity status
  • Player-wise landbank distribution with target’s position in it
  • Commercial competence of target’s each site against those of other players in the market
  • Site-wise connectivity status and fitment with demand
Positioning and Performance at Customers

Identifying the target’s strengths and weaknesses at customers:

  • Target’s client focus vs customer segments driving capacity
  • Fitment test on client’s offering with the customer needs
  • Change in engagement models with changing policies and market regimes, and the target’s response to it
  • Market feedback on target’s products and services through customer interviews
Competitive Positioning

Understanding the target’s ability to win against competition:

  • Performance and operational competitveness against competitors
  • Comparison on the current and planned offerings
  • Share at the top customers in the market
  • Operational setup and land bank comparison

1. How realistic were the target’s assumption for capacity growth in the market?

The target had projected and shared certain capacity figures for each of the customer segments in the market and formulated its future customer strategy based on that. We tested these numbers through market forecast scenarios for each customer segment at state level. Along with the verification of these numbers, we did a risk assessment for the forecasts, looking at challenges, such as financial status of DISCOMs and grid availability. The key questions answered were:

  • What type of players are driving installations in the Indian wind market?
  • What is the current market share of these players and how is it expected to change in future?
  • What are the means/ models though which these players are expected to install capacity? What is their present status in the market?
  • What are the current issues to growth and how are they expected to change in future?
  • How is the upcoming capacity split by geography?

After a thorough assessment of growth in market, we could conclude on the strength and viability of the basis used by the target to make capacity projections. As a result, we commented on how well placed the target’s future customer strategy w.r.t to the market outlook.

2. How strong are the target’s asset claims?

The target featured a strong portfolio of landbank and claimed it to be positioned in strategic locations for future installations. We tested these claims by analyzing the resource competitiveness and readiness status of the sites to ascertain their commercial viability in the market. The process followed in addressing this problem was as follows:

  • What are the types of landbanks in India and what is their roadmap from procurement to execution?
  • What is the state-wise status of sites under landbank for wind installations, in terms of both land and connectivity allotment
  • What are the current landbank portfolios of distinct types of players in the market as compared to that of the target?
  • How commercially competitive are the target’s landbank against those of other players in the market?
  • How synergistic are these land banks w.r.t to the customers’ demand and geographical focus?

The above analysis helped us establish the client’s position in terms of its winning capability in the market and where can this be leveraged in future competition scenarios.

3. How are the target’s customer relationships and performance in the market?

We understand that In the Indian wind market, maintaining relationships with the customers is a crucial factor to sustain growth. Hence, we ran an assessment on the target’s customer portfolio and consistency in the business they get from them. This was complemented by direct feedbacks from the target’s top customers on the experience they have had with the products and services availed from the target. To address the above points, following questions were solved by us:

  • What is the share of distinct types of customers in wind installations in India? How is this share changing towards 2022?
  • How are the needs and expectations of these players changing as they now start to invest in building their own landbanks?
  • How is the target responding to the changing needs in the market? How successful is it?
  • How is the market’s feedback on target’s products and services? How likely are they expected to award repeat business to the client?

This helped us to understand if there is a business sustainability risk that may challenge the target’s growth. Plus, we could see if there are any customer concentration risks that might pose a challenge going forward.

4. How well is the target positioned to compete in future?

The target claimed a position of strength in terms of its product performance, resource rich assets and cost competitiveness in the market. We analyzed these claims by understanding their current position in the market in areas ranging across products, services, production capabilities, market share, customer diversity and status of the landbank. And, then compared the future strategies being adopted by target vis a vis competitor, to win in the changing customer needs.

  • How has been the target growing against competition in the past 5 years and what is its market share today?
  • How competitive are the target’s products in terms of performance against those of competitors? How does this picture change in future?
  • What is the level of diversity in the customer portfolio of the target against those of competitors?
  • How centralized/ decentralized is the target’s setup to serve the local markets?
  • What is the status of the target’s landbank as compared to that of the competitors?
  • How successful is the target’s winning strategy expected to be in future vs other winning strategies in the market?

The competition assessment painted a clear picture on identifying which are the areas where the target is expected to perform strong and can be built upon. While, we drew insights on which are the weak points that could become a challenge or areas of improvement for future.

Apart from the quality of landbank and its status, being able to position the target against other players in the market and combine this with its repo among customers became a key to understand the probability of succeeding in the future market. In parallel, it identified areas where the foundations are strong and could support growth in future vs areas where course correction or fixing would be required, in case the deal materializes.

RESULTS

Based on our recommendations and interactions with the board, the client decided to change and optimize their acquisition plan. The client started renegotiations with the target company using the updated knowledge and understanding of the targets market positioning, capabilities and future scope to win in the market.