Debt Reduction: IL&FS in talks with NIIF to sell roads, energy portfolios

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Mumbai | Updated: July 24, 2018 11:15:14 AM

Mumbai-based infrastructure development and finance major IL&FS Group is in talks with the government’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) to sell its roads and renewable energy portfolios.

One of the sources FE spoke to said the enterprise value of the operational road assets is about Rs 30,000 crore or billion.

Mumbai-based infrastructure development and finance major IL&FS Group is in talks with the government’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) to sell its roads and renewable energy portfolios. According to multiple sources, NIIF and IL&FS have been in talks for about one-and-a-half-months with NIIF conducting due diligence on the assets. One of the sources FE spoke to said the enterprise value of the operational road assets is about Rs 30,000 crore or $4 billion.

With about 33 projects, IL&FS Transportation Networks (ITNL) has among the largest portfolio of build-operate-transfer projects in the country. Of these, 28 are road projects, of which about 25 are operational and the remaining under different stages of construction. Five projects are in sectors such as metro and others. Besides, the company also has four projects under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode.

FE reported earlier this month that the company is in talks with Cube Highways to sell one of these projects — the Rs 4,000-crore Chenani-Nashri tunnel, also called the Patnitop tunnel. An IL&FS spokesperson did not respond to queries. Sujoy Bose, CEO, NIIF, did not reply to an email till the time of going to press.

The decision to purchase the roads and renewable energy portfolio would require the finance ministry’s nod as NIIF was set up under it. So far, NIIF has two operational funds and is raising a third fund of $2 billion to invest in major infrastructure projects for the longer term. Over the last few months, IL&FS’ roads development arm IL&FS Transportation Networks has faced a series of debt downgrades by ratings agencies. The company’s toll road projects, ITNL Road Infrastructure Development Company and MP Border Checkpost Development Company (MP border) reported delays in loan repayment obligation due on June 30, 2018, CARE Ratings said earlier this month. Last week, CARE downgraded the company’s long- and short-term bank facilities totalling Rs 3,286 crore. CARE also said ITNL did not extend its support for the projects, unlike in the past, and has initiated termination of the projects under these special purpose vehicles (SPV).

Earlier this month, Icra, too, downgraded two of ITNL’s SPVs, Rapid Metrorail Gurgaon South and Rapid Metrorail Gurgaon. In May, Icra downgraded the long-term borrowings of ITNL, amounting to Rs 4,570 crore, placing the ratings under watch with developing implications.
Dillip Bhatia, CFO, ITNL, said in an analyst call in May, ITNL has a consolidated outstanding debt of about Rs 36,000 crore. It still needs to raise a debt of about Rs 7,000 crore to complete ongoing projects, Bhatia said.

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