India's diversified conglomerate Tata Group has formed a consortium with a unit of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and SSG Capital Management, which is investing Rs 8,000 crore (US$1.2 billion) to buy a stake in GMR Airports Ltd. The latter manages and operates Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, India; and Mactan Cebu International Airport in the Philippines.
The deal will pump Rs 1,000 crore into GMR Airports, a unit of GMR Infrastructure Ltd. and purchase Rs 7,000 crore of the airport unit’s equity shares from the parent, according to a
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 values GMR Airports at 180 billion rupees.
The deal marks Tata’s entry into the airports business amid an earlier announced plan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to develop airfields in India’s remote towns and villages, said a report in the Economic Times.
Deal enables GMR to reduce debts
Tata, which owns two local airlines, Vistara and AirAsia India - in partnership respectively with Singapore Airlines and AirAsia Berhad, follows last month's government decision to award the management and operation of six local airports to the Adani Group.
GMR Infrastructure, which had a net debt of US$2.9 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 of Mumbai.
The Economic Times report said the Tata-GIC-SSG consortium beat Japanese diversified conglomerate Mitsubishi - the other entity GMR had been in advanced talks with - to clinch the deal. The money raised will primarily be used to retire part of its debt.
Nol van Fenema