After being in the works for nearly an year, the second round of private equity fund raise by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise Limited (NICE) which is executing the much delayed Rs 4,000 crore Bangalore-Mysore expressway, is close to being finalised.
Global private equity majors Goldman Sachs, 3i Group, Standard Chartered are among the few funds which are understood to be in discussion for this round of funding which is expected to be in the range of Rs 300-400 crore. Funds under the control of J P Morgan already has invested more than $100 million in to this project besides another private equity fund 2i Capital.
The controversial project which has been in the making for nearly 16 years, raised $100 million from a private equity fund owned by J P Morgan for the first phase of the project, involving building a total of 62 kilometres, including the 56 kms of peripheral roads linking onto the Bangalore-Mysore Expressway. The cost of the first phase is Rs 2,000 crore and the IDFC is understood to be involved in the debt part to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore besides involvement from New India Insurance. The 56-km peripheral project itself took almost a decade to build with the idea to alleviate the problem of the commercial traffic travelling on the busy NH 4 and NH 7 (linking Chennai in the south to Mumbai in the west) without crossing central Bangalore by a fast, grade-separated peripheral road.
NICE is effecting the phase I of this project through a special purpose vehicle Nandi Economic Corridor Enterprise (NECE). NICE is majorly-owned (close to 80 per cent) by B F Utilities of Kalyani Group while the rest is held a company owned by Ashok Kheny who has been spearheading the day to day activities of the project. Anil Ambani, chairman, of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, who was an early investor in this project, recently exited his stake to a fund also owned by J P Morgan.
The second and third phase of the project involving around 36 km and 60 km respectively is understood to be costing another Rs 2,000 crore. Bankers close to the deal indicate that NICE has detailed plans to raise a total of $200 million from private equity players besides the $100 million already raised through J P Morgan. Ashok Kheny, MD, NICE, confirmed to Business Standard that the second round of funding is close to being finalised, but declined to name the funds.