Customer Financed Projects

October 3, 2009

In F Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, the main characters are an American couple called the Divers who are Page 3 People in the 1920s. They live on a hillside Villa over the French Riviera, where they throw parties for American tourists and expats. Unfortunately up to the 1920s Riviera hotels were open only in the winters and there would be no tourists in the summer. So they convince one particular hotel owner to keep his hotel open in the summer as well, so that the stream of guests for their parties never dries up. Eventually the hotel starts getting so many guests that the owner doesn’t even need the support of the Divers to make the summer season profitable.

When I read this, I was reminded of what the Adanis have done while constructing the Mundra port. The Adani steel plant isn’t viable without the port, so the steel company has become a part investor in the port project and is financing the rail link between the port and the existing Indian Railways network. Once the rail link is completed, Adani steel will benefit of course, but so will everyone else who wants to use the port (and of course so does the port).

Project finance epiphanies aside, Tender is the Night is one of the most disturbing books about adultery and breaking down marriages I’ve ever read. Now if only it wasn’t so indulgent of its main characters.