GMR Airports secures $206m financing for Mopa hub

Axis Bank underwrites entire debt for the Indian infrastructure company’s first phase of airport development.

GMR Airports, a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure, said it had concluded fundraising for the first phase of Mopa Airport’s development with a debt facility underwritten by a domestic lender. 

The entire debt of 13.3 billion rupees ($206 million; €181 million) was underwritten by Axis Bank on a long tenor “door-to-door” basis of 18 years on “competitive terms”, according to Sidharath Kapur, president of GMR Airports. He said that “the confidence of banks on the project reflects the intrinsic strength of the project and also the operational and delivery capability of the sponsor”. 

GMR won the bid to develop and operate the greenfield airport at Mopa in North Goa, on the western coast of the country, last year. The concession agreement was signed last November. 

As part of the deal, GMR will design, build, finance and operate the civilian international airport for 40 years, with a 20-year extension option. Under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model, the project will be developed in various stages and cater to domestic and international passengers, besides freight services. 

Total project investment was estimated at between 27 billion and 30 billion rupees – more than half of which would be earmarked for phase one – a GMR spokesperson told Infrastructure Investor when the firm won the bid last year. The new hub is expected to be the gateway to the state of Goa and boost tourism, which is the key industry in the state, by the time it becomes operational in 2019. 

GMR Group also owns and operates international airports in Delhi and Hyderabad, as well as the Philippines’ Mactan Cebu International Airport in partnership with Megawide Construction Corporation. Last month, GMR won the 35-year contract to build, operate and manage Crete’s new Heraklion international airport alongside Greek partner TERNA.