IDFC India: Infrastructure Investment Intermediaries

Case Solution

John D. Macomber, Viraal Balsari
Harvard Business School ()

The Indian financial intermediary, comparing international capital with local infrastructure, decides how to reconcile the range of services, risk-adjusted returns, pressure on margins, and nation building. IDFC has been licensed with partial ownership by the Government of India to help evaluate policies and provide a model of how private finance can be attracted to public infrastructure. As the country and the business grow, so does the company, embarking on a strategy of rapid expansion, offering a wide range of new financial products and participating in many aspects of the supply chain. Educational questions include rethinking the original mission, looking at declining margins and increasing risks associated with entering a number of areas that have well-established incumbents, and the tradeoffs between maximizing shareholder return (for example, investing in full-rate energy projects in rich cities) and maximizing the benefits to the nation (for example, through subsidized-rate water projects in poor countries).

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