Tata, GIC buy stake in GMR Airports

By BLOOMBERG

NEW DELHI • A consortium of India’s Tata Group, a unit of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd and SSG Capital Management Ltd will invest 80 billion rupees (RM4.8 billion) to buy a stake in GMR Airports Ltd, which runs India’s biggest airport.

The deal will pump 10 billion rupees into GMR Airports, a unit of GMR Infrastructure Ltd and purchase 70 billion rupees of the airport unit’s equity shares from the parent, according to a statement. GMR operates Delhi International Airport Ltd, Asia’s sixth-biggest.

After the purchase, Tata will hold 20% in the airport unit, while GIC will get 15% and SSG will own 10%, the company said in a filing. The deal, which values GMR Airports at 180 billion rupees, will bring down the group’s consolidated debt by 40% to 120 billion rupees, its CFO Sushil Modi told reporters in Mumbai.

The deal marks Tata’s entry into the airports business amid a one trillion-rupee-plan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to develop airfields in India’s remote towns and villages.

Tata, which owns two local airlines, follows billionaire Gautam Adani’s bet on the sector after his firm won bids to operate six local airports last month.

GMR Infrastructure, which has net debt of US$2.9 billion (RM11.89 billion) at the end of December 2018, has been selling assets to pay off liabilities.

GMR competes with GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd, which runs the airport in the financial capital of Mumbai.

GMR shares jumped as much as 9.8% to the highest intraday level since Sept 3 in Mumbai, while the broader S&P BSE Sensex Index rose 0.6%. GMR also operates airports in Hyderabad and Cebu, while it is developing greenfield airports in Goa and Crete, Greece. The group envisages capital expenditure (capex) of 90 billion rupees to expand the New Delhi facility, while spending 55 billion rupees for Hyderabad, CFO Modi said. — Bloomberg