Moving beyond brownfield assets for infrastructure investors
Given the size of the Indian economy and expectations of future growth ...
Over the past few years, the investor interest in accessing high-quality brownfield assets to deploy capital has been a natural first step taken by both large and small players entering the Indian markets. Given the constrained balance sheets of many Indian businesses, especially infrastructure companies, have meant that carving out and monetization of assets to reduce debt was a natural progression in the market. However, in a multi-decade time horizon, given India’s vast infrastructure needs, a move higher on the risk curve towards under-construction projects to be able to deploy more significant amounts of capital is only natural.
From an investor perspective, accessing non-brownfield projects implies dealing with three primary issues around land acquisition, construction risk and an effective infrastructure-linked ecosystem. The immediate investment focus must shift towards projects or portfolios of projects where risk linked to the latter two must be undertaken, while land acquisition issues have primarily been resolved.
The capacity of investors and the strategies adopted to deal with non-brownfield projects will lead to increased infrastructure investments and will expedite infrastructure creation. Investors and the government will have to keep a keen eye on any policy changes that might be needed as the market evolves with increasing amounts of capital looking towards incomplete and yet attractive infrastructure assets.
—Taponeel Mukherjee heads Development Tracks, an infrastructure advisory firm