Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2010 (Revised September 2013)

IDFC India: Infrastructure Investment Intermediaries

by John D. Macomber and Viraal Balsari


Indian financial intermediary matching international capital to local infrastructure decides how to balance range of services, risk-adjusted return, margin pressure, and nation building. IDFC was chartered with partial ownership from the Indian government to help evaluate policy and be a model for how private finance could be attracted to public infrastructure. As the nation and company grow, the firm also grows and embarks on a strategy of rapid expansion, offering a wide new range of financial products and participating in many aspects of the supply chain. Teaching questions include revisiting the original mission, contemplating the reduced margins and increased risks that come with entering a number of domains that already have established incumbents, and the trade-offs between maximizing shareholder return (for example through investments in full tariff power projects in rich cities) and maximizing the benefit to the nation (for example through subsidized tariff water projects in poor states).

Keywords: Investment; Infrastructure; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Mission and Purpose; State Ownership; Business and Government Relations; Business and Shareholder Relations; Partners and Partnerships; Financial Services Industry; India;


Macomber, John D., and Viraal Balsari. "IDFC India: Infrastructure Investment Intermediaries." Harvard Business School Case 210-050, June 2010. (Revised September 2013.)