Sujoy Bose, the global co-head for infrastructure and natural resources at International Finance Corporation, is likely to be appointed as the first CEO of India’s pioneering quasi-sovereign wealth fund, (SWF) the National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF), official sources told FE.
The other contender for the post has been Luis Miranda, an adviser at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and a former CEO of IDFC Private Equity. The sources said Bose’s name has been recommended by the finance ministry to head NIIF as he will be able to hit the ground running given his current assignment at IFC, the private lending arm of the World Bank. His appointment order is expected shortly.
NIIF, being set up with an initial corpus of Rs 40,000 crore, 49% of which is from the government, is expected to catalyse financing of infrastructure projects by leveraging the fund multiple times. It is expected to play a key role in reducing the potential financial burden on the exchequer for building infrastructure.
Bose has worked for over 23 years at IFC including as chief investment officer and head of the IFC African Latin American and Caribbean Fund at IFC Asset Management Company. He has wide experience in emerging markets private equity and debt investments, something that will come in handy while at the helm of NIIF.
NIIF was announced in the FY16 Budget and it took about a year to finalise the contours of the organisation. The government will offer a 51% stake to other players such as global SWF, pensions funds, public sector undertakings and multilateral agencies.
In the meantime, global sovereign funds like Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Singapore’s Temasek and Russian Direct Investment Fund have evinced interest in picking up stakes in the main fund. These and other players also have the option of participating in individual projects financed by NIIF or in its sector-specific sub-funds.
The paucity of equity capital is felt strongly in many key infrastructure sectors like roads, ports and railways where the government is actively promoting the public-private partnership model with apparently attractive concession provisions. At the other end of the scale, banks have developed cold feet on investing in long-term infrastructure projects given an asset-liability mismatch and past failures of some promoters in sectors like roads and power to service the debt.