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Australian, Canadian pension funds pledge $2 billion in NIIF

The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Ltd (NIIF) has received commitments of about $2 billion from AustralianSuper, Australia’s largest superannuation and pension fund, and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Ontario Teachers’), one of Canada’s largest single-profession pension plans, Mint reported. These include commitments of $250 million each into NIIF’s master fund, and co-investment rights of up to $750 million each in future opportunities alongside the master fund. The investment also makes AustralianSuper and Ontario Teachers’ shareholders in NIIF. The fund also received additional commitments worth 60 crore from HDFC Life and Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance in the third round. NIIF, which was set up in 2015 along the lines of a sovereign wealth fund with 49% equity held by the Union government, looks to boost infrastructure financing in the country. The latest investment pegs the NIIF master fund as the largest infrastructure fund in India with assets of over $1.8 billion under management and a co-investment pool of $2.5 billion.

GIC invests 4,400 crore in IRB roads platform

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC is investing 4,400 crore in IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd’s road portfolio marking the third major infrastructure investment this year by the sovereign wealth fund, Mint reported. GIC’s transaction with IRB will see the latter transfer nine of its toll road assets into a private InvIT in which IRB will hold controlling stake of 51%.The portfolio spans 1,200 km in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka.Three of these projects have recently become operational while the balance six are under various stages of construction. Five of the assets under construction are 4 to 6-laning projects, where tolling and construction have already begun. The investment GIC includes funding of future construction costs, IRB said in a statement. It will be used for deleveraging the portfolio and equity funding for under-construction projects of the portfolio.

Awfis raises funds from ChrysCapital, other investors

Awfis, a startup that rents coworking space to businesses, raised $30 million in a Series D equity financing round led by homegrown ChrysCapital, Mint reported. The round also saw participation from existing investors in Awfis— venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor’s family office, The Three Sisters: Institutional Office (TTS: IO). Awfis plans to use the capital to expand its network of workspaces, introduce new and innovative products and services, and enter tier-II cities Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Kochi and Indore. Founded by Amit Ramani in 2015, Awfis started with a $11 million capital from TTS:IO and himself. So far, it has raised $81 million, including the latest investment, in the form of debt and equity financing.

Tata Steel drops plan to sell S-E Asian assets

Tata Steel Ltd has called off plans to sell a majority stake in its South-East Asia steel business to China’s state-run HBIS Group, Mint reported. This is the second attempt by Tata Steel to offload low-margin assets abroad and pare debt. Mumbai-based Tata Steel was slated to sell a 70% stake to HBIS for $327 million in cash. Under the deal, TS Global Holdings Pte. Ltd, an indirect wholly-owned unit of Tata Steel, signed definitive agreements in January with an entity controlled by HBIS to sell its entire stake in NatSteel Holdings Pte. Ltd and Tata Steel (Thailand). Tata Steel bought NatSteel Singapore in 2004 for 1,313 crore, the first of its investments in South-East Asia.

Essel in talks to sell toll roads to NIIF for $350 million

Indian tycoon Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group is in advanced talks to sell some toll road projects to an arm of the country’s sovereign wealth fund for about $350 million, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter. The assets that National Investment & Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is planning to buy are four toll roads that are in operations and two in construction, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. The parties expect to reach an agreement as soon as September. Canada’s Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec dropped its plans to buy three road projects from Essel, Mint reported in July, citing unidentified people.

Cube Highways in talks to buy Ircon Soma Tollway

Singapore-based infrastructure investment platform Cube Highways is in discussions to acquire Ircon Soma Tollway (ISTPL), a special purpose vehicle that operates a crucial expressway connecting Dhule to Pimpalgaon in northcentral Maharashtra, The Economic Times reported. The SPV is a joint venture between Ircon International and Soma Enterprise, with equal equity participation. The project is part of National Highway 3 (new NH60), popularly known as the Agra – Mumbai Road.

Brookfield no longer in race for Suzlon Energy stake as talks fail

Brookfield’s plan to acquire a majority stake in Suzlon EnergyNSE -4.71 % has fallen through, after the Canadian investor could not reach a deal with the wind-turbine maker’s lenders on valuation, The Economic Times reported citing two people aware of the development. After Brookfield had asked for a 60-70% haircut on the debt, lenders did not agree to the amount that Brookfield wanted them to forego to proceed with the deal, and are now working with Suzlon on other resolution plans.

Dish TV, Airtel Digital TV merger announcement likely by month end

Bharti Airtel’s direct-to-home (DTH) arm Airtel Digital TV, private equity firm Warburg Pincus and Essel Group-owned Dish TV have reached an agreement on merging the two businesses and a formal announcement is expected in four-six weeks, The Economic Times reported citing two people with direct knowledge of the development. With the partial stake sale in Essel Group-owned Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE) having been decided, the promoters are focused on completing Dish TV’s merger with Airtel Digital TV. The Essel Group’s promoters are selling assets to repay debt. They own a 57.52% stake in Dish TV— almost 95% of this is pledged with lenders. The three options being discussed are—an overall merger, a revenue merger and a deal that involves part cash, part merger. Together, Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV will create the world’s largest TV distribution company with close to 40 million subscribers and over 62% share of India’s DTH market.

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