GVK Airport in talks to raise $200 million to refinance loans

GVK Airport is in talks with a clutch of lenders, including Goldman Sachs India, to raise the funds


File photo of the Mumbai airport. GVK Airport owns a majority 50.5% stake in Mumbai International Airport and 43% in Bengaluru International Airport. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
File photo of the Mumbai airport. GVK Airport owns a majority 50.5% stake in Mumbai International Airport and 43% in Bengaluru International Airport. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

Mumbai: GVK Airport Developers Ltd, a unit of GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd, is in talks to raise close to $200 million in structured debt to refinance a part of its borrowings, two people aware of the discussions said.

“GVK has been looking at refinancing options of its existing loans as the transaction with Fairfax Group to sell a controlling stake in Bengaluru International Airport Ltd (BIAL) is yet to receive security clearance from the government of India,” one of the two people said on condition of anonymity as the talks are private. GVK is in talks with a clutch of lenders, including Goldman Sachs India, the person added.

GVK Airport owns a majority 50.5 % stake in Mumbai International Airport Ltd and 43% in BIAL.

In March, Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Group agreed to buy a 33% stake in BIAL for Rs2,149 crore from GVK Power and Infrastructure. Once the sale is completed, GVK’s holding in BIAL will drop to 10%. GVK had first acquired a 17% stake in BIAL from Larsen & Toubro Ltd for Rs686 crore in 2009 and then gradually increased its stake.

With the stake sale to Fairfax Group, GVK was expecting to reduce its debt by Rs2,000 crore and save around Rs300 crore in interest payments a year, but the deal is yet to close, forcing the company to look for other options in the interim to service its debt, said the person.

According to the latest corporate filings, GVK Airport has a total debt of Rs3,710.5 crore as of 31 March for which the company incurred an interest cost of Rs523 crore. GVK Airport has, however, doubled its revenue to Rs95.87 crore in FY16 from Rs47.11 crore in the previous year, according to data compiled by Capitaline.

“While it is public knowledge that GVK is exploring various options to raise funds, we regret that as a corporate policy, we do not comment or respond to any speculation in the media,” a GVK spokesperson said. A Goldman Sachs India spokesperson declined to comment. An email sent to Fairfax India Holdings Corp. remained unanswered until the time of going to press.

With an overall debt of around Rs30,000 crore, GVK group is among the most leveraged business houses in India and has been actively looking at asset sales to pare debt.

Hindustan Times reported on 1 April that the group is in talks with prospective buyers to sell all three highway projects in its portfolio—Jaipur-Kishangarh in Rajasthan, Deoli-Kota in Rajasthan and Bagodara-Vasad in Gujarat.

Delays in regulatory approvals, land acquisition problems and a funding crunch have led to high borrowing costs, which have put pressure on infrastructure companies.

Rival GMR Infrastructure Ltd recently sold a 51% equity stake in its 99-km highway project in Karnataka to joint venture partners to pare debt.

In May, Malaysia’s largest electricity utility, Tenaga Nasional Bhd, bought a 30% stake in a select portfolio of GMR Energy Ltd assets for $300 million. Last December, Mint had reported GMR Airports’s plans to sell 30% stake in the business at an enterprise value of $1.5 billion to raise around $500-700 million.

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