The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which is currently tendering road monetisation projects, has started of a unique data-sharing plan with prospective bidders. It is undertaking the task of conducting due diligence for the contracts prior to their bidding.
NHAI will ascertain the health of TOT or toll-operate-transfer projects, which would then be offered to international investors for their operation and maintenance.
An NHAI-appointed consultant would establish a data bank of the road assets that would be tendered. These O&M contracts are usually for 20-25 years and hence the prospective bidders require a detailed blueprint of the contract before submitting bids.
“Three consultants have been appointed--Crisil, Deloitte and Mazars--for conducting the pre-bid due diligence of the nine stretches that would be tendered by NHAI this month,” a industry executive told Business Standard.
As part of the due diligence process, the consultants would establish how good the asset is, the age of the asset and material used in the construction of that road. The data created would then be put in public domain by the NHAI for the prospective bidders to study before submission of their bids.
Three bundles of highway stretches would be tendered by the NHAI this month. A batch of nine stretches across Odisha, West Bengal, Assam and Bihar, a bunch of seven stretches across Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Rajasthan and Gujarat and another bundle of 10 stretches across UP, Bihar and Jharkhand.
This is the second round of bidding for TOT projects after the one in March, when a joint venture of Macquarie and Ashoka Buildcon bagged the first bundle of road monetization projects for Rs 96.8 billion.
These projects were offered to the international players after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, in August 2016, authorized the NHAI to monetize public funded national highway projects, which are operational and are generating toll revenues for at least two years after the commercial operations date through 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.