Mumbai: Road developer Cube Highways and Infrastructure, which is backed by global infrastructure fund I Squared Capital, on Monday emerged as the highest bidder for the National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) second bundle of roads under the toll-operate-transfer (TOT) model, said two people aware of the development.

The second bundle of 586 kilometres of national highways in Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, and Bihar had a base bid price of 5,362 crore, with the winning bidder earning the rights to toll revenues for 30 years. All three participating bidders have bid below the base price, said one of the persons mentioned above.

“Cube bid 4,612 crore, while the bids of Adani and IRB Infrastructure Developers were 3,675 crore and 2,718 crore respectively," he said, requesting anonymity as he is not authorized to speak with the media.

Cube Highways was set up by I Squared Capital along with World Bank arm International Finance Corp.

Mint reported on 10 December that the NHAI auction second bundle of roads under the TOT model may see lukewarm response because of the liquidity crunch in the financial markets and concerns over asset quality.

NHAI had to extend the deadline for submitting bids a couple of times because of subdued interest.

When the second bundle of TOT model roads was announced in August, the deadline for submitting bids was set at 5 November. NHAI later extended the deadline to 5 December and then to 19 December.

The auction of these toll road assets is part of the government’s effort to raise 2 trillion through the TOT model in five years. The first round of auctions in February raised 9,681 crore for the highway developer, who put it into the Bharatmala roads programme.

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