The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has received the government nod to borrow Rs 9,430 crore over a period of four years from 2018-19 (April-March) to 2021-22 after a delay of almost six months, said a source familiar with the matter.
While AAI had planned to borrow Rs 1,500 crore from a consortium of two banks including State Bank of India (SBI) during the current financial year, the plan fell through as the "bid lapsed" by the time the civil aviation ministry granted approval for the same, the source privy to the matter told CNBC-TV18.
"There were a lot of rounds of discussions and while initially the approval was sought in March for the Rs 1,500-crore line of credit, the ministry finally decided to approve a lump sum borrowing of around Rs 9,500 crore six months later," the source said on the condition of anonymity.
Nonetheless, the authority is not stressed out "as of now" and may look at borrowing some funds towards the end of the current financial year ending March 31.
AAI, which manages over 125 airports in the country, has planned Rs 20,000-crore investment plan to conduct major expansion of airport infrastructure, including six new airports and additional terminals at Chennai and Jaipur.
"Out of this, now we can borrow half of it and the remaining will come from internal resources," the source added.
However, a depreciating rupee may pose hurdles in its investment plan and hence, AAI is soon going to invite bids to appoint a consultant to study the market conditions and propose a suitable borrowing mechanism with option of routes ranging from line of credit, dollar-denominated bonds, masala bonds and project loans.
"FIIs (foreign institutional investors) are withdrawing... oil prices are soaring, the rupee is weak... borrowing is going to be costlier and when we are going for long-term borrowing, it will have long-term impact. If you go for dollar-denominated bonds, then the incoming money is rupee converted into dollar and presently it (currency value) is reducing... In India, banks are also stressed out. So it is a bit of a concern but we will meet our target of capital expenditure," the source said.
AAI has targeted a capital expenditure of Rs 4,100 crore for the current financial year ending March 31. For the next financial year starting April 1, the authority is planning a capital expenditure of Rs 5,000 crore out of which Rs 500 crore is expected to come from the government for certain schemes and activation of small airports.The airport authority mainly earns its revenue from airport charges or aeronautical tariff, set by the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA). In addition, it gets grants from the government for infrastructure development in specified areas.