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NIIF to invest Rs 15,000 cr for Delhi-Mumbai expressway project

Tuesday, 09 Jul 2019
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The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) will be making an investment of Rs 15,000 crore in equity for the marquee Delhi-Mumbai expressway project. The equity investment will be leveraged to raise close to Rs 50,000 crore debt.

The total project cost is approximately Rs 70,000 crore and the entire construction risk will be borne by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). This arrangement essentially means that the ownership of the project that is planned along the lines of new alignments will be with NIIF.

At present, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is a partner with NIIF, which was formed by the Indian government as a private entity. The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will have to seek the Cabinet approval for the arrangement.

NHAI signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NIIF for the investment on 8 July 2019. The proposed Delhi-Mumbai expressway will also be connected to the industrial city of Indore and an arm of the erstwhile Golden Quadrilateral.

The partnership will be through formation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV). The model will be a funding arrangement for other large-size road projects to be executed by NHAI in future. This arrangement is expected to bring huge investments at economical rates for highway development in India and reduce the stress of borrowing on the NHAI balance sheet.

The NIIF mode will provide innovative financial framework for other projects, including the 24,000 km Bharatmala Pariyojana costing around Rs 7.5 trillion. The first investment agreement between NIIF and a wholly-owned subsidiary of ADIA for USD one billion fund infusion was signed in October 2017.

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