MUMBAI: Macquarie Asset Management will acquire BSCPL Aurang Tollway Ltd, a 150-km-long road project in Chhattisgarh owned by BSCPL Infrastructure, two people aware of the development said.
An agreement has been signed last week and the deal will value the project at an enterprise value of ₹1,600 crore (about $200 million), they said.
A Macquarie spokesperson declined to comment. A BSCPL spokesperson did not respond to calls and messages.
This would be the first road acquisition by Macquarie in India in five years, after it had won the rights to manage 648 km of national highways by bidding ₹9,681 crore in a 2018 auction by the National Highway Authority of India.
BSCPL Aurang is a special purpose vehicle incorporated in September 2011 by BSCPL Infrastructure for managing a section of NH 6 between Aurang in Chhattisgarh and the Odisha border under the build, operate and transfer basis. The concession agreement, executed in January 2012, is for 28 years.
After the impact from Covid-19 on traffic, the average daily traffic on this road segment increased to 15,194 passenger car units in fiscal 2022 from 13,859 the year before, said a recent CARE Ratings report. Further, in the first three months of fiscal 2023, the traffic increased to 17,037 cars. The average daily toll revenue rose to ₹44.86 lakh in the April-June period of FY23 from the FY22 average of ₹37.21 lakh, it said.
Macquarie Asset Management, one of the largest infrastructure investors, is investing through its $4.2-billion Asia-Pacific regional infrastructure fund. It had raised its third infrastructure fund last year, exceeding a $3 billion target. Macquarie Asset Management managed $132 billion of infrastructure assets globally as of March 31, 2022.
Ratings firm Icra has lowered the outlook on the toll road sector to ‘stable’ from ‘positive’ for the next fiscal year, citing easing wholesale price inflation because of which it expects inflation-linked hikes in toll rates to be “relatively modest”.