A chartered accountant with an all-India rank, Varun Mehta is currently chief financial officer of Sadbhav Infrastructure Project Limited (SIPL), a position he has held since October 2014. At SIPL, Mehta’s primary role is to grow the company’s build-operate-transfer (BOT) asset portfolio and streamline the existing portfolio for generating maximum value for the shareholders.
On a micro level, he is responsible for determining SIPL’s strategy for sustainable growth and evaluating optimum fund-raising options such as debt, equity, securitisation and refinancing. Besides, he is also engaged in undertaking negotiations with lenders, liasing with banks and closing fund-raising transactions. His role extends to evaluating BOT and hybrid annuity bid submissions, evaluating M&A opportunities, and being a part of investor interactions for the company.
In terms of his perspective on the sector, Mehta says, “We are at the most exciting stage in the road sector. The BOT segment has evolved tremendously since its inception in 2006. Having completed the entire life cycle of the road projects awarded in 2006-07, there has been a tremendous degree of learning.” According to him, the National Highways Authority of India has become the role model entity for many other sectors. Besides, the fact that national highways constitute only 3 per cent of the entire road network while carrying about 40 per cent of the total road traffic and the double-digit growth in the number of vehicles present a plethora of opportunities in the road BOT segment.
He says, “What I like about the road sector is it is unaffected by any technology disruption or with any risk of becoming obsolete, which provides stability and visibility of returns over a long period of time.”
Mehta recalls getting SIPL listed on the stock exchanges as a very memorable event. “It is reflective of the fact that the hard work of the entire team in the development of the company and in making SIPL one of the leading road BOT companies in India is appreciated by the entire investor fraternity,” says Mehta.
Mehta is also a chartered financial analyst from the CFA Institute, USA, and is certified in financial risk management from the Global Association of Risk Professionals, USA. His wife is a gynaecologist and is currently working in a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation hospital. A sports enthusiast, Mehta likes to play as well as watch cricket, squash and tennis.