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A joint venture of Macquarie and Ashoka Buildcon has emerged the highest bidder for the Centre’s first batch of toll-operate-transfer (TOT) projects.
The venture bid Rs 96.8 billion for the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) project.
With this, the bidding process has been completed for the first round of monetisation of public-funded national highway projects under the TOT model, said Rohit Singh, member-finance, NHAI. The first batch had nine projects.
The company’s bid was 1.5 times higher than the base price of Rs 62.6 billion. “The base price is a tentative price set by the NHAI. It is a reasonable price, as it will be split into debt and equity and the equity component would be financed from the $3 billion raised by MAIF-II (Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Fund-II),” Macquarie India Head Suresh Goyal told Business Standard.
Ashoka Buildcon would be responsible for operation and maintenance and the equity would be brought in by the Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Fund-II.
The first bundle for monetisation, released by the NHAI in October 2017, covers nine stretches — five highways in Andhra Pradesh and four in Gujarat. Four bids were received for the first bundle — from Brookfield Asset Management, Macquarie-Ashoka Buildcon, IRB Infrastructure, and Roadis-NIIF. The financial bids were opened on Wednesday.
In 2016, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had authorised the NHAI to monetise publicly funded national highway projects. Currently, 75 operational national highway projects completed via public funding have been identified for monetisation using the TOT model.
Under the TOT model, the concessionaire pays a one-time fee upfront and operates the toll for 30 years. This model is applicable to engineering, procurement and construction and the built, operate and transfer (annuity) highway projects that were commissioned at least two years ago.
Funds generated from highway monetisation would be used for new infrastructure programmes such as the Bharatmala.