In a major boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious National Investment & Infrastructure Fund, DP World Ltd., a Dubai-based port operator, has entered into a joint investment plan of up to $3 billion with the former, Bloomberg reported. The plan comes amid growing relationship between India and the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is the second-biggest emirate. In October, a unit of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority signed an agreement to invest $1 billion in a master fund of National Investment & Infrastructure Fund, becoming its first institutional investor.
The companies will set up a platform to invest in ports, terminals, transportation and logistics businesses in India, DP World said in a statement on Monday. The $3 billion of equity will be used to acquire assets and develop projects.National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is a fund created by the Government of India for enhancing infrastructure financing in the country. Its creation was announced in the Union Budget 2015-16. In October last year, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund has got a major boost with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority committing to put in up to $1 billion (about Rs 6,500 crore) and becoming its first significant shareholder, after being largely dormant for nearly two years since it was launched. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority will become the first institutional investor in the NIIF Master Fund and a shareholder in NIIF’s investment management company — National Investment and Infrastructure Ltd.
Shri Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance said, “NIIF, set-up to function as a major platform in India for attracting foreign investments, has made good progress. We are pleased to learn of NIIF’s first investment to create an investment platform in the ports and logistics sector. Following its First Close in October 2017 on the fund-raising side, and now with its first investment, NIIF is making visible progress.’’
The corpus of NIIF was proposed to be Rs 40,000 crore (about $6 billion) wherein the government would invest 49 percent (about Rs 20,000 crore). It will raise third-party capital for the remaining Rs 20,000 crore ($3 billion) from long-term international investors, such as a sovereign wealth funds, insurance and pension funds, endowments, other global long-term investors and public-sector units. The Indian government has already approved its contribution of Rs 20,000 crore towards NIIF. But it has budgeted only Rs 1,000 crore for the current financial year 2017-18 since it was not required to contribute to it in the absence of other foreign or domestic investment into the fund. However, since more sovereign wealth funds are now likely to follow the ADIA way, the government, too, will most likely be required to raise its budgetary support for the NIIF. ADIA is not alone. Six domestic institutional investors — HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company, HDFC Asset Management Company, Housing Development Finance Corporation, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance and Axis Bank — will also join the NIIF Master Fund along with ADIA and the government, the finance ministry said in a statement yesterday.