The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will now offer smaller bundles of operational assets worth Rs 500 crore and above, under its asset monetisation programme through the toll-operate-transfer (TOT) model.
Talking to members of the industry body Assocham, minister for road transport and highways and MSME Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday that the proposal has been mooted keeping in mind the limited financial capability of the domestic investors. Large assets on offer could be taken up only by big-pocket foreign investors in the current scenario.
The NHAI has attempted fund raising through the TOT model four times so far. While the length of the bundles varied between 401-680 km, the base price ranged between Rs 2,166 crore and Rs 6,258 crore. The first one fetched nearly 1.5 times of the base price, the second had to be annulled due to investors’ apathy, the third one went at just a little higher over the base price and the bid for the fourth bundle is still open.
Domestic investors have long been asking for reducing the size of the bundle so that they can afford to take part in the bidding process. Under the TOT model, publicly-funded operational highway projects are given on long-term lease basis to domestic and foreign ‘patient capital’ investors.