Grapevine: CPPIB, ADIA eye India’s smart meter rollout; DHFL bidders mull walkout
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Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) are interested in investing in the nationwide rollout of 250 million smart electricity meters, a move aimed at reducing losses of discoms, a Mint report said citing two people aware of the development.

These pension and sovereign wealth funds have conveyed their participatory interest to the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Ltd. NIIF is active in the smart meter space through IntelliSmart, its joint venture with state-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd.

“CPPIB and ADIA are willing to invest in annuity businesses that have a reliable revenue flow,” one of the two people cited above said. The two funds are among investors that have made equity capital commitments worth $4.3 billion in NIIF, a quasi-sovereign wealth fund.

The country’s smart meter programme has also been garnering interest from large corporates, including Reliance Industries Ltd, which plans to leverage its telecom business to offer meter data collection, communication cards, telecom and cloud-hosting services to discoms.

Meanwhile, the bidders for troubled Dewan Housing Finance Corp Ltd (DHFL) are threatening to walk out of the process citing lack of transparency and nepotism after the lenders called for fresh bids under revised terms, The Economic Times said citing multiple people in the know.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong-based SC Lowy sought a refund of the Rs 100 crore “earnest deposit money” or bid bond guarantee it had submitted earlier as it is willing to withdraw the bid. SC Lowy had offered Rs 2,300 crore for DHFL’s wholesale loan book.

Another bidder Oaktree Capital has also communicated that they are unsure of participating in any rebid and are evaluating their options, the people mentioned above said. The Ajay Piramal group, too, could pull out, the report added.

Some of the bidders are also threatening legal action if the lenders call for a new round. 

Both Oaktree and SC Lowy, along with the Ajay Piramal group, have been opposing the unsolicited revised offer from Adani Properties for the whole of DHFL submitted a week after the deadline of November 9. Some of the lenders were initially inclined to accept the revised Adani offer that had trumped the nearest Oaktree one by Rs 250 crore.

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