NHAI in talks with SBI to securitise part of toll receipts for raising funds

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is in talks with the State Bank of India to securitise a part of its toll receipts for raising funds. The Cabinet had, in November, given the authority its nod to raise funds through the process.

Proceeds from asset monetisation of this kind will help the authority mobilise funds for development and maintenance of highways. Sources said the NHAI held a couple of meetings with senior bank officials.

The bank will hold a meeting internally, and is expected to revert to the highways authority soon. NHAI currently monetises public-funded highway stretches through toll-operate-transfer mode. It has plans to launch the Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) route by April next fiscal year.

In 2019-20, NHAI is expected to collect around Rs10,600 crore toll from its operational highway stretches. The amount, as per the Union Budget document, may go up to Rs11,500 crore in 2020-21. The securitisation of toll receipts will help the NHAI raise funds from stretches where the traffic is already high and needs capacity augmentation in the next few years.

Infrastructure assets such as roads are best suited for securitisation as they ensure stable cash flow, backed by long-tenure concession agreements and higher recovery rates.

Financial Express
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