India’s national infra fund approaches first close

The $6bn vehicle has attracted sovereign wealth capital and is looking to invest in clean energy and affordable housing.

India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund is soon to reach a first close, according to Arun Jaitley, the country’s finance minister.

The sovereign infrastructure vehicle, launched by the Modi administration in 2015 in a bid to support domestic infrastructure development, aims to raise half of its $6 billion target from foreign sovereign wealth funds. The government signed several memorandums of understanding with investors from the Middle East and Russia last year.

“With steady progress on fundraising efforts with several international institutional investors, a first close of NIIF is expected very soon,” the government said at the third meeting of the fund’s governing council, chaired by Jaitley last week.

The ministry said it has executed the master contribution agreement, through which the government provided 200 billion rupees ($3.1 billion; €2.7 billion) to the fund and set up the governance structure.

The fund has already committed to the Green Growth Equity Fund, a £500 million ($654 million; €568 million) sub-vehicle it has launched in partnership with the UK government. It is also considering investments in third party-managed funds focused on clean energy, affordable housing and medium-sized infrastructure companies, the ministry said. It added that “a strong investment pipeline is under consideration in the road, port, aviation and power sectors”.

A 12-strong team, including chief executive Sujoy Bose, a former co-head of infrastructure and natural resources at the International Finance Corporation, is now in place, while further recruitments on a global basis are under way.

The team is based in Delhi. Its Mumbai head office is being refurbished.