Bharat Road Network (BRNL) along with its partners, has signed an agreement with India Highway Concession Trust, an infrastructure investment trust set up by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), a global institutional investor, for the sale of a BOT road project in the state of Odisha. BRNL is currently the largest shareholder, with a 40% stake in this project.
The Share Purchase Agreement provides for the complete transfer of ownership of Shree Jagannath Expressway, the special purpose vehicle (SPV) engaged in the development, operation and maintenance of a 67-kilometre toll road project from Bhubaneswar to Chandikhole, in Odisha. Project operations started in December 2011, with an initial concession period of 26 years.
Speaking on the development, Bajrang Kumar Choudhary, Managing Director, BRNL said “The transaction is in line with BRNL’s strategic plan for stakeholder value creation through portfolio assets reallocation while focusing on enhancing operational excellence and increasing financial efficiencies in existing assets. The transaction is expected to help BRNL in reducing its debts and will also provide the company with funds for reinvesting in its existing assets under construction.”
Emmanuel Jaclot, Executive Vice-President and Head of Infrastructure, CDPQ, said: “We are thrilled with the acquisition of Shree Jagannath Expressway. It will be the first asset integrated into the new CDPQ-owned roads platform in India, which we set up and staffed in 2020. This reflects our long-term confidence and interest for the sector and more broadly the Indian infrastructure market.”
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. With a marked recovery in commercial traffic on Indian highways to pre-pandemic levels, the deal signals the renewed focus on M&A activities in the roads sector.