NHAI plans to seek new investor for Mumbai-Pune Expressway

Economy


MUMBAI: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) plans to find a new operator for the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, one of the country’s busiest, with the agreement with IRB Infrastructure Developers set to end in August. NHAI expects the new deal will value the expressway at $1-1.2 billion (Rs 7,000-8,000 crore), said two people close to the development.

SBI Capital Markets has been mandated to find a buyer for the asset and feelers have been sent to global and domestic infrastructure developers such as Macquarie, Cube Highways and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF). All have significant exposure in the toll roads segment.

The Mumbai-Pune Expressway project — which is being operated on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model — contributed the highest revenue of Rs 918 crore in FY19 to the state-run authority, followed by the Ahmedabad-Vadodara Expressway at Rs 429 crore. NHAI’s revenue stood at Rs 6,903 crore in FY19.

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In August 2004, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Ltd (MSRDC) and Mhaiskar Infrastructure Private Ltd (MIPL ) —an SPV of IRB Infrastructure Developers —entered into a concession agreement to develop, operate and maintain the Mumbai-Pune section of NH-4, and carry out O&M (operations and maintenance) on the entire highway as well as the 93-km Mumbai-Pune Expressway project for 15 years.

The busy Mumbai-Pune Expressway is part of the Golden Quadrilateral on the Mumbai-Bengaluru-Chennai arm.

“We can only confirm that the concession will be over in August 2019; we are unaware of any steps initiated by the government. We shall take an appropriate call when the time comes for bidding,” said an IRB spokesperson. The spokespersons for Macquarie and NIIF declined to comment, while mails sent to Cube Highways and NHAI did not elicit any response as of press time, SBI Caps spokesperson declined to comment.



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