Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Modi govt’s asset monetisation drive gets a huge Australian boost

Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 17:56
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NEW DELHI: In a big boost to government’s asset monetisation programme, Sydney-headquartered Macquarie group has won the Toll Operate Transfer (TOT) bid of nine national highways with a total length of just under 700 km. The company has placed the bid of Rs 9,681 crore as against government’s expectations of Rs 6,258 crore. This is the first such asset recycling process that has been undertaken by the government.“The bid is almost 50% high than what we were expecting. Macquarie has emerged the highest bidder. Ashoka Buildcon will be their operations and maintenance partner in India,” Rohit Kumar Singh, member-finance, NHAI, told ET.“Such valuation by the long-term capital providers also reflects that there is a great appetite for wellstructured public initiative. To my knowledge, this is one of the largest FDIs in public infrastructure where such quantum of money would be received upfront,” he added.Funds generated from monetisation of highways to be used for new infrastructure programmes such as Bharatmala. The government expects to raise around Rs 2 lakh crore through TOT in next five years. First bundle for monetisation, released by NHAI in October 2017, for which bids were opened on Wednesday, covers nine stretches – five highways running across Andhra Pradesh and four in Gujarat.“Robust due diligence of the bundled projects was conducted by government through drone videos, network survey vehicles for ascertaining the asset condition of the proposed bundled stretches along with current traffic patterns,” Singh said.


Four bids received for the first bundle were from Brookfield Asset Management (Rs 7,511 crore), Macquarie (Rs 9,681 crore), IRB Infrastructure (Rs 6,930 crore) and Roadis-NIIF (Rs 6,611crore).The TOT model in India has been developed to encourage private participation in the highways sector. Under the model, the concessionaire pays a one-time concession fee upfront, which then enables him to operate and toll the project stretch for the pre-determined 30-year concession period. The model also includes the risks associated with such a long concession contract.“There are multiple provisions in the model concession agreement which is designed to take care of eventualities like roadway expansion, high toll traffic variation, etc. to ensure that concessionaires are not exposed to undue risks,” Singh said.In 2016, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs authorised NHAI to monetise public-funded highway projects. Seventy-five operational highway projects completed under public funding were identified for potential monetisation using the TOT model.

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