The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) of India said on Monday it had signed a US$1 billion investment agreement with a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia), to invest in much-needed energy, transportation and other infrastructure-related sectors in India.
Adia, as part of the agreement, will become the first institutional investor in NIIF’s Master Fund as well as a shareholder in National Investment and Infrastructure Limited, the NIIF’s investment management company, NIIF said in a statement.
"This agreement marks the culmination of an extensive process of collaboration with Adia to develop an investment structure that is attractive to international investors while remaining closely aligned with the NIIF's objectives," said
Sujoy Bose, the chief executive of NIIF.
“We are proud to have Adia as our founding partner, and grateful for its support and contributions to date, and we now look forward to announcing further agreements with other investors.”
The deal comes amid increasing interest by Adia in India and emerging markets as a whole. The sovereign wealth fund, one of the biggest funds in the world, said in its most recent annual report this year that it expects much of the world’s economic growth to come from developing nations, especially from China and India, in the next decade.
Adia has investments in a number of asset classes including equities and fixed income in India.
The fund is also in advanced talks with India's GMR Infrastructure to buy up to 49 per cent of Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport, The Economic Times business daily in India reported in July, citing unnamed sources.
At the time, Adia would not deny or confirm its interest in buying a stake in the airport.
The agreement also comes following increasing ties between India and the UAE after prime minister Narendra Modi's visit to the country in 2015.
During the visit, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, met with Mr Modi and the two countries pledged to boost trade with each other by 60 per cent, as well as investing up to $75bn in infrastructure.
Rundown trains, roads and other basic facilities are among the biggest hurdles to investment in India.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said the country needs $1.5 trillion in infrastructure over the next decade.
Since Mr Modi came to power in 2014, the fortunes of the economy have improved as the reform minded prime minister moved to cut red tape and reduce subsidies, pushing the country's benchmark stock index to a
Still, a recent slowdown in economic growth has made investment in infrastructure even more urgent in order to reach the 8 per cent annual growth rate needed to create enough jobs for the country’s
1.3 billion population.
"The NIIF is set to play an important role in facilitating the flow of foreign capital into India's infrastructure sector," said Khadem Al Rumaithi, the executive director of the real estate and infrastructure department at Adia.
“As a long-standing investor in India and in infrastructure globally, Adia welcomes the opportunity to be the first to partner with NIIF in a platform that is sure to be of interest to other long-term institutional investors,” he said.