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IRB May Partner With Overseas Developers to Build Road Projects

IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd., India’s third-largest road builder by value, may partner with overseas developers to help the company become eligible to bid for larger highway projects.

The Mumbai-based developer can bid for projects of up to 200 billion rupees ($4.5 billion) in auctions for the so-called mega-highway projects, Chairman Virendra Mhaiskar said. He declined to identify potential partners or projects.

“These companies could be developers who may have technical expertise and may want to infuse some money,” Mhaiskar said in an interview today. IRB is seeking partners because the National Highways Authority of India may raise technical parameters for large projects, he said.

India, ranked below war-ravaged Ivory Coast and Sri Lanka for the quality of infrastructure, plans to build 7,000 kilometers (4,350 miles) of highways a year to ease congestion and lift growth. India’s Roads Minister Kamal Nath expects the new highways to add as much as 2 percentage points to gross domestic product of Asia’s third-largest economy. Roads move 75 percent of India’s freight traffic and 85 percent of passengers.

IRB’s shares, which have risen 15.5 percent this year, fell 2.4 percent to 283.8 rupees in Mumbai at 1:19 p.m. The benchmark Sensitive Index dropped 0.7 percent.

Road projects of between 390 kilometers and 700 kilometers in length are termed as mega-highway projects, according to the government. India is ranked 89 out of 133 nations for its infrastructure, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.

IRB is building 1,600 kilometers of highways and has no immediate plan to sell shares to the public or institutions, Mhaiskar said.

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