Mayank Bansal, director, Global Infrastructure Partners, India (GIP), is an experienced infrastructure equity investor with investments in sectors such as roads, thermal and renewable power, rail and air logistics, telecom and healthcare. He joined IDFC Alternatives in 2008, which has since been acquired by GIP. Even after over 14 years of experience, Bansal believes that there is still a lot to learn, as each transaction and investment provides a new experience and new challenges. He says, “Every sector, every transaction has its own nuances. If one road faces traffic shortfall issues, another might be grappling with toll management issues owing to heavy traffic. One cargo terminal may be struggling on account of local cartels while a solar power plant may be facing the heat because of a lack of heat (sun).”
A typical day sees Bansal juggling multiple activities; he might start his day by negotiating investment documents for a road project, have a lunch meeting with a management consultant to discuss ways to improve efficiency in a cargo terminal, followed by a bank visit to pitch for a loan refinancing for a power project and end the day with a brainstorming session on the exit strategy for a healthcare investment. His work takes him to various parts of the country, places where, he feels, development is not just a buzzword but a dire necessity. This diversity of work provides the impetus for him to get going every morning.
Bansal suggests that a strong base of knowledge and experience should be built over the course of one’s career. After completing his engineering and MBA degrees, he started his career in project finance and investment banking with SBI Capital Markets which provided a grounding in various aspects of infrastructure financing. He made a shift from the sell side (investment banking) to the buy side (equity investments) in 2008 when he joined IDFC Alternatives. Since then, he has closed multiple transactions, but not one that he would regret. He summarises his guidance to youngsters wanting to get into this field: “Deal making is not just about negotiating a price and terms. It requires detailed due diligence, a deep understanding of potential risks and rewards, a long-term vision and an identified path to exit. And between the investment and exit, there is a sufficiently long period of value add. Eventually, it also boils down to believing that what you do should be for the greater good of our nation.”