The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) on Monday said it has acquired two assets – Devanahalli and Dichpally tollways – from Essel Group, marking its entry into the roads and highways sector. The deal size was not disclosed by NIIF.
The acquisition is done through the NIIF Master Fund, and the projects will be managed by Athaang Infrastructure, NIIF’s proprietary roads platform backed by a team of experienced professionals with rich domain expertise in the transportation sector, it said in a statement.
Subhash Chandra’s debt-laden Essel Grouphas been in talks with NIIF to sell these assets since last year for an estimated Rs 1,500-1,800 crore. Essel Devanahalli Tollway is a strategic arterial 22-km six-lane toll road in Karnataka, connecting Bengaluru city and the airport and is a part of NH44 (erstwhile NH7). It has been in operation for over six years. Essel Dichpally Tollway is a 60-km four-lane toll road in Telangana and has been in operation for over seven years, connecting Hyderabad and Nagpur.
The NIIF Master Fund has also anchored platforms in the ports and logistics, renewables, and energy-smart meter sectors, it said. Vinod Giri, managing partner at NIIF said this is the first investment that the fund has made in the roads sector.
” Athaang will invest in strategic assets and develop a portfolio including mature operational assets, annuities/hybrid annuities, large size expressways and highways with greenfield and brownfield expansion requirements,” he said. NIIF is a collaborative investment platform for international and domestic investors, anchored by the Centre and manages over USD 4.3 billion of equity capital commitments across its three funds – master fund, fund of funds and strategic opportunities fund. Essel Infraprojects has 14 road projects in its portfolio, of which six are under the hybrid annuity model.
Last year, it had placed six road projects, two operating transmission lines and solar power assets on the block to repay the bulk of Essel Group’s debt. So far, the company has sold a part of its solar power portfolio.
First Published: IST