TRANSPORTATION

Investors hit hard by steep fall in toll collections

Infrastructure funds that have invested heavily in India’s road assets are staring at heavy losses as toll collections across the country have slumped amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

The road transport and highways ministry had on March 25 directed the National Highways Authority of India to suspend toll collections across India till April 14.

Most Indian toll roads are owned by private foreign investors.

Toll collections dipped around 50% across national highways between March 15 and 22, according to NHAI data. Global financial institutions such as Macquarie, GIC, Cube Highways and leading Canadian funds and pension groups—Brookfield, CPPIB, CDPQ and OMERS—have deployed more than $5 billion on Indian road assets in last 4-5 years.

For the month of March, the decline in toll collections is estimated to be more than 40%, said a recent report from ICRA. Further, now with the constrained vehicular movement likely to persist beyond April, given the current situation, the Q1FY21 toll collections will also be adversely

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