Saurabh Agarwal, Forbes India Conversations, 2019

Long term security needed before investing in water and rail

Saurabh Agarwal, CDPQ, talks about how long term security will shift interest into water, rail, and social assets.
3 MIN READFebruary 04, 2020

Saurabh Agarwal is the Managing Director, Infrastructure, spearheading CDPQ’s infrastructure investment efforts in South Asia, based in New Delhi, India. He is responsible for strategy development, sourcing, evaluating, executing and managing high-quality investments, as well as developing long-term partner relationships in the region.

With almost 20 years of experience in financial and technological sectors, Saurabh leads CDPQ’s investments across sectors including utilities, renewables, transportation, telecom and social.

In your opinion, does the Indian infrastructure offer good opportunities in terms of risk-return?

We believe India Infrastructure offers large investable opportunities to long term investors with patient capital. Focus in recent years has been acquisition of operational assets in established sectors like roads, renewables etc. which provide relatively safe entry into India. Investments in greenfield opportunities are still muted however, due to uncertainties involved in policies and limited availability of debt financing.


Which Indian infrastructure segments seem to be more attractive at the moment?

Sectors with evolved and well-structured concession/ policy regimes are currently attracting most investor interest. These primarily include sectors like roads, renewables, and airports. In addition, investments centred around new themes such as energy transition can offer attractive opportunities, such as 24/7 power supply through renewables, e-mobility etc. In the long term, however, once the policy frameworks provide more comfort, we expect investor interest increasing in other sectors as well, such as water, railways, and urban infrastructure. 

What are the main challenges the sector faces?

It’s not that simple. The challenges faced are sector specific and within each sector, situation specific. For example: in renewables, the major challenge has been managing receivables and grid backdowns which impact the economics of the project. We remain in constant dialogue with the government (directly and through our portfolio companies) to work with them in finding solutions.


For more information on the Indian infrastructure sector, join many of the most senior individuals present in the industry at Infra India GRI, taking place in New Delhi on 19 - 20 February, 2020.

Article by Matt Harris

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