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NIIF picks up stake in J&K tunnel road asset
Photo Credit: 123RF.com

India’s sovereign wealth fund National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) has announced investment of $380 million (Rs 3,035 crore) in Navayuga Quazigund Expressway Pvt. Ltd, for an undisclosed stake. 

NIIF picked up the stake in NQEPL - a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project by the National Highways Authority of India - through its Master Fund. Post the transaction, the fund’s proprietary roads platform Athaang Infrastructure will manage the operational tunnel road in J&K. 

“NQEPL is the first tunnel road that we have acquired. Operations and maintenance (O&M) of this asset requires specialized technical and management expertise and is a testament to the strength of Athaang Infrastructure,” said Vinod Giri, managing partner at NIIF Master Fund.  

The four-laned expressway spanning 16.3 km between Quazigund and Banihal Section of NH-1A, includes a bi-directional 8.5 km continuous twin-tube tunnel stretch.  

The road provides a vital link between Jammu and Srinagar, enabling seamless movement of traffic and goods, with enhanced inter-regional connectivity. The road facilitates traffic movement in all weather conditions throughout the year and reduces significant travel time between the two cities.  

“We believe that NIIF is the right investor for this strategic asset which is important for the development of the region. We are delighted to work with NIIF on this transaction and it helped us in substantial reduction of debt at the group level,” said Sridhar Chinta, managing director at NQEPL.  

Anchored by the government, NIIF currently manages over $4.3 billion of equity capital commitments across its three funds – Master Fund, Fund of Funds and Strategic Opportunities Fund. Master Fund is one of India’s largest infrastructure funds, that invests in high quality businesses and assets across core infrastructure sectors, via both operating and greenfield opportunities.  

Last month, Master Fund announced to an investment of around Rs 2,250 crore to acquire around 22.5% in Hindustan Ports Pvt. Ltd (HPPL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of UAE government-controlled firm DP World.  

The fund also manages the 6-lane Devanahalli Tollway in Bengaluru and the 4-lane Dichpally Tollway in Telangana. The vehicle is also in various stages of acquiring a few other strategic road assets. In addition to the road sector platform, the fund has also anchored platforms in ports and logistics, renewables, data centres and energy smart meters sectors.  

In December 2020, NIIF Master Fund marked its final close at $2.34 billion, with Canadian pension fund Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Axis Bank, among its Limited Partners (LPs). Its other key LPs include Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), AustralianSuper, CPP Investments, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Temasek, HDFC Group and ICICI Bank.  

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