NIIF eyes $1 bn more from overseas investors in fresh fundraising round

The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is looking at raising another $1 billion from external investors, a senior official said here Friday.

The NIIF, which is tasked with attracting investments into infrastructure and other key sectors, has already received commitments for $1 billion from a few external investors.

"We have been able to raise over $1 billion so far and hope to get a similar amount now," executive director Prakash Rao said speaking at an event organised by the industry lobby CII.

Speaking to investors, he hinted that they may be announcing a new fund raising deal soon, but did not specify the deal amount, time-line or whether this is over and above the proposed $1 billion.

Asked if the fund is in the market for the proposed $1 billion more actively, he said they are always in talks with investors.

The fund already has commitments from two sovereign wealth funds-- Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Singaporean Temasek-- and will be looking to induct more partners.

To a specific query on avenues of raising the targeted $1 billion, he said the NIIF, which operates three long term funds, will be tapping into both sovereign wealth funds as well as pension funds.

He said of the government commitment of $3 billion, the fund has drawn $250 million so far, while another $3 billion has to be arranged from external sources.

The NIIF runs three funds now-- a $2.1-billion master fund for key infrastructure sectors, a $2-billion fund for roads along with Spanish company Roadis, and a strategic opportunities fund.

Rao said $200 million has been committed for the ports and logistics platform being operated along with Dubai Ports as part of the master fund, while it is also scouting for investments in road projects.

It will also be looking at investments in rail and metro projects going forward, he said without elaborating on the projects it may be interested in.

Rao said domestic savings will be insufficient to fund the huge investment that the country needs and pegged the funding gap at a whopping $90 billion, which needs to be bridged with foreign help.

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