Macquarie, Canada Pension are among bidders on India road assets

Macquarie Group Ltd. and an investment trust backed by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are among short-listed bidders to buy road assets from India’s quasi-sovereign infrastructure fund, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The deal could be worth about $300 million to $500 million, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public. The assets, with an enterprise value of $1 billion, are part of the National Investment & Infrastructure Fund’s roads platform known as Athaang Infrastructure, they added. Athaang’s portfolio consists of five stretches of highways, including toll roads, running a combined 230 kilometers (143 miles) across India, according to the firm’s website.

Representatives for the Australian bank and NIIF didn’t immediately respond to requests seeking comment. The Canadian pension plan, which backs an investment trust in India known as IndInfravit Trust, declined to comment.

A World Bank report in 2022 estimated the country needs to spend $840 billion over the next 15 years on urban infrastructure, a key initiative for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. Investment structures like InvITs are designed to support funding for these costly projects.

Macquarie was one of the first private investors in India’s roads, pioneering the purchase of local concessions, allowing the country to expand its transportation system, according to the firm’s website. The firm believes that purpose-built expressway networks will be the next phase in India’s infrastructure development.

NIIF is India’s first major attempt to develop a capital-raising structure on home soil, to tackle a shortfall in infrastructure spending. Investors include Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Pte. The Indian government is the largest shareholder with a 49% stake, according to its website. The fund primarily invests in local companies that build power plants, airports and roads, and provides long-tenure loans through its shadow bank unit.


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