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30/05/24 | 10:46 am

NHAI seeks investment in UAE for infrastructure monetization

By: Vinod Kumar

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has launched an initiative to monetize its infrastructure, seeking investments from the UAE to sustain and enhance India’s expanding national highway network.

NHAI’s delegation, led by Chairman Santosh Kumar Yadav and NHIT MD Suresh Goyal, are conducting high-level meetings and roadshows in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to attract foreign investment via NHAI Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InVITs). At a Dubai roadshow with the Consulate General of India and SBICAPS UAE, Yadav highlighted India’s highway expansion from 70,000 to 140,000 kilometers in a decade, driven by significant government investment. Yadav also noted the transformation of these roads into financial assets through advanced digitization of toll collection, with 98-99% of collections now electronic.

The roadshows offer UAE investors a chance to join India’s infrastructure growth, Managing Director of NHIT Mr Suresh Goyal emphasized the financial stability and potential returns, noting that India’s national highways carry 70-80% of commercial traffic, and with GDP expected to grow at 6-7% annually, toll revenue is projected to grow accordingly.

Addressing investor concerns, the delegation explained its inflation-linked toll escalation in concession agreements, ensuring revenues rise with inflation, mitigating currency depreciation effects.In the past three years, NHIT has raised nearly $4 billion, with 50% from foreign investors. The InvIT structure has attracted substantial appreciation since listing.The delegation also outlined NHAI’s long-term vision, emphasizing continuous highway construction and strategic asset transfers to business trusts, creating a cycle of investment and returns.

NHAI aims to build lasting UAE investor relationships, with positive responses in Dubai and upcoming meetings in Abu Dhabi. This initiative represents a strategic move to secure sustainable funding for India’s highway expansion, attracting significant capital and fostering a beneficial partnership for both India and investors.

The delegation comprised of Santosh Yadav, Chairman of NHAI; Suresh Goyal, MD & CEO of NHAI InvIT; Mr. Rajendra Kumar, Member (Finance) of NHAI; Anurag Jain, CIO of NHAI InvIT; Arnab Chaudhary, Head of Debt Capital Markets at SBI Capital Markets; and Vishal Gupta, Head of Middle East at SBI Capital Markets.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), an autonomous agency under the Government of India established in 1988, oversees the development, maintenance, and efficient transportation of over 140,000 kilometers of national highways.

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