Mumbai: GMR Infrastructure Ltd on Friday said it had agreed to sell a 51% equity stake in its 99km highway project in Karnataka to its joint venture partners.

The company will receive 85 crore from the transaction that will also remove 1,077.94 crore associated with the project off GMR Infrastructure’s books, the company said in a statement.

The project, being run under the special purpose vehicle (SPV) GMR OSE Hungund Hospet Highways Pvt. Ltd (GOHHHPL), is jointly owned by a consortium of GMR and Oriental Structural Engineers Ltd.

The stake sale in GOHHHPL will take place in two tranches, GMR said.

Under the first tranche, the joint venture partners have already bought a 14.99% stake, GMR said. The remaining will be bought after approvals from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and lenders to the project.

GMR will focus on creating liquidity and reducing its leveraged position as part of its strategy of churning of assets, GMR said.

GOHHHPL operates the Hungund Hospet section of National Highway No. 13. The project was won by GMR OSE Consortium in 2010 on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis. The project is under GMR’s subsidiary GMR Highways Ltd.

The sale consideration of 85 crore is about 1.1 times the book value of investment, GMR said. As of 30 September, GMR Infrastructure had debt of 43,439.60 crore.

Several infrastructure developers in India, weighed down by debt, have announced exits from individual highway projects to monetise operational assets and repay creditors.

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