The operational tunnel road in Jammu and Kashmir Union territory will be managed by NIIF Master Fund’s proprietary roads platform Athaang Infrastructure, NIIFL said in a statement.
The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Ltd (NIIFL), India’s first infrastructure-specific investment fund, said it would invest Rs 3,036 crore in Navayuga Quazigund Expressway Private Ltd (NQEPL).
The operational tunnel road in Jammu and Kashmir Union territory will be managed by NIIF Master Fund’s proprietary roads platform Athaang Infrastructure, NIIFL said in a statement. The acquisition expands the fund’s road portfolio and diversifies its asset base, the company said.
NQEPL is one of the largest annuity projects awarded by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on a build-operate-transfer basis. This project receives fixed, semi-annual payments from NHAI, providing stable and predictable cash flows.
The Rs 40,000-crore NIIF was set up in December 2015 as an institution for enhancing infrastructure financing by investing in greenfield (new), brownfield (existing) and stalled projects.
Set up as Category II Alternative Investment Fund, the NIIF currently manages three funds with distinct strategies, Master Fund, Fund of Funds, and Strategic Opportunities Fund.
Vinod Giri, managing partner, NIIF Master Fund, said: "We are delighted to add this important asset to our portfolio, which is also the first tunnel road that we have acquired. This acquisition emphasises our focus on identifying fundamentally strong assets that create long-term value."
The NIIFL said operations and maintenance of the asset would require specialised technical and management expertise.
The four-laned 16.3 km expressway between Quazigund and Banihal Section of NH-1A includes a bi-directional 8.5 km continuous twin-tube tunnel stretch, one of the longest highway tunnels in India.
The road provides a vital link between the two important cities in the region, Jammu and Srinagar, enabling seamless movement of traffic and goods with enhanced inter-region connectivity. The road facilitates traffic movement in all weather conditions throughout the year and reduces significant travel time between the two cities.
"India is home to the world’s second-largest road network. The growing number of passengers and vehicles and the need to further deepen connectivity in the country have propelled demand to widen the nation’s road network. This has generated significant investment opportunities in strategic assets with strong fundamentals," added Giri.
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NIIF Master Fund also holds the six-laned Devanahalli Tollway in Bengaluru and the four-laned Dichpally Tollway in Telangana. The fund is in various stages of acquiring other strategic road assets.
In addition to the road sector platform, NIIF Master Fund has also anchored platforms in ports and logistics, renewables, data centres, and energy smart meters sectors.
Sridhar Chinta, managing director, Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd, said, "The Quazigund Banihal road tunnel is a project of national importance, executed and developed by Navayuga group under extremely challenging conditions."
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Chinta said working with NIIF on this transaction helped the firm substantially reduce debt at the group level.
First Published: IST