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Thursday, July 25, 2024

CDPQ and Actis in Advanced Talks to Acquire Ashoka Concession’s BOT Road Assets

Canada’s CDPQ and UK-based Actis are currently in advanced negotiations to acquire the build-operate-transfer (BOT) toll road assets of Ashoka Concessions, a subsidiary of highway builder Ashoka Buildcon. This move follows the termination of a proposed transaction by global investment firm KKR in May.

The equity value of the assets is expected to be in the range of Rs 1,300-1,500 crore, with an enterprise value of approximately Rs 4,500 crore, according to sources familiar with the matter. The sale process began several months ago, and both CDPQ and Actis are actively pursuing the acquisition.

Ashoka Concessions had previously entered into an agreement in 2021 with Galaxy Investments II, an affiliate of KKR, for the sale of five BOT toll subsidiaries. However, the agreement was terminated in May, prompting Ashoka Concessions to restart discussions for the sale of these assets.

CDPQ is engaged in discussions through its infrastructure trust, Indian Highway Concessions Trust. If the deal materializes, it is anticipated that SBI Macquarie, holding the remaining stake in Ashoka Concessions, will exit the investment and receive about ₹1,200 crore.

Actis, known for its focus on sustainable infrastructure investments, had acquired a portfolio of six operating highway toll road projects in the previous year. Additionally, the London-based investor expanded its road portfolio by acquiring four hybrid annuity model (HAM) road assets in August.

The toll projects sector in India witnessed a 22% year-on-year growth in collection in the fiscal year 2022-23, reaching ₹1,117 crore. This growth is expected to continue, with toll collections projected to surpass ₹1,200 crore this year, driven by moderate traffic growth and a modest increase in toll rates, as reported by Icra.

Both Actis and CDPQ have been active players in the Indian roads sector, with Actis previously acquiring HAM road assets from Welspun Enterprises and Patel Infrastructure, while CDPQ’s Maple Highways platform sponsors Indian Highway Concession Trust, which holds assets such as the NCR Eastern Peripheral Expressway and Shree Jagannath Expressways.

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