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Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Fund II has won the contract to toll, operate and transfer (TOT) nine national highways in India, with a total length of just under 700 km. The company submitted a bid of INR96.81 billion (US$1.48 billion), almost 50% higher than the government's expected bid of INR62.58 billion (US$960 million).
The tender for the project was launched by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in October 2017. Five of the highways concerned are located in the state of Andhra Pradesh, in the south-east of India, while the other four are located in Gujarat, in the west.
Bids were also received from Brookfield Asset Management (INR75.11 billion (US$1.15 billion)), IRB Infrastructure (INR69.3 billion (US$1.06 billion)) and a consortium comprising Roadis and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (INR66.11 billion (US$1.01 billion)).
Macquarie will operate and toll the roads for a 30-year period. Ashoka Buildcon will be Macquarie's operations and maintenance partner in India.
In 2016, India's Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs authorised NHAI to monetise public-funded highway projects. Seventy-five operational highway projects completed under public funding were identified for potential monetisation using the TOT model. This is the first bundle to be tendered.
The Indian government expects to raise INR2 trillion (US$30 billion) from the monetisation programme. Funds generated will be used for new infrastructure projects.
TOT projects are also being developed by state governments. As reported on this platform, in January the government of Telangana appointed transaction advisors for the tender the tolling, operation and transfer of the 158 km-long Nehru Outer Ring Road, which road encircles Hyderabad, the state capital.