International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank Group, today issued its first onshore rupee bond, setting an international triple-A benchmark for the country's domestic capital markets. The IFC Maharaja bonds raised Rs600 crore (approximately $100 million), from international and domestic institutional investors.
The bonds will be listed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE).
The bonds are of four different tranches, offering an innovative structure to attract different types of investors to India's capital markets.
These include a five-year bullet bond of $25 million, a 10-year bullet bond of $25 million, and two separately tradable redeemable principal parts (STRPPs) with maturities ranging from 13 to 20 years.
IFC can increase the size of issuance, according to its funding needs under the STRPP structure. All proceeds of bonds issued under this structure will be used for infrastructure investments in India.
''The listing of IFC Maharaja bonds shows NSE's continued commitment to working with global partners to bring high-quality issuers and increase the depth and vibrancy of India's domestic capital markets,'' an IFC release stated.
HSBC, ICICI Securities Primary Dealership, and SBI Capital Markets were the lead arrangers for the issuance.
''Deep, efficient capital markets are the foundations of long-term growth because they create access to finance for the private sector,'' said IFC vice president and treasurer Jingdong Hua.
''The innovative structure of IFC's Maharaja bonds enables us to efficiently connect savings from international and domestic investors to investments in infrastructure, while setting a triple-A pricing benchmark in the domestic capital markets that will pave the way for other high-credit issuers.''
"We appreciate the support of the government of India and the regulatory agencies for IFC's efforts to develop and deepen the offshore and onshore rupee markets," he added.
''The IFC Maharaja Rupee bond is an important issuance for the Indian fixed income markets. This was possible due to the combined efforts and commitment of the Finance Ministry and the regulators, Securities and Exchange Board of India and Reserve Bank of India. We believe issuances such as this will go a long way to create vibrant debt markets in the country,'' said NSE managing director and CEO Chitra Ramkrishna.
IFC issued a five-year bullet bond with a fixed rate coupon of 8.0 per cent and a ten-year bullet bond with coupon of 7.97 per cent, both payable semi-annually. Both the bonds priced approximately 50 basis points below the Indian government bond yields of comparable maturities.
The STRPPs include callable bonds and has been priced in a range of 20 to 30 basis points above the relevant maturity benchmark GoI bond yields, with coupons of 8.88 per cent (for maturities of 13 to 18 years) and 9.00 per cent (for maturities of 19 to 20 years).
The five- and ten-year maturities have been subscribed to by foreign institutional investors at yields below the relevant benchmarks government bonds reflecting a higher value for IFC's international triple-A rating.
This is the first time a bond issuance in the Indian domestic markets has been priced below the IGB benchmark yield curve, IFC noted.
The IFC Maharaja bonds are issued under a $2.5-billion programme, to support India's domestic capital markets. The issuance follows IFC's successful completion earlier this year of a global rupee bond programme which raised $1 billion from investors globally.
In FY14, IFC invested $1.2 billion in India along its strategic priorities of providing counter-cyclical support to infrastructure, promoting financial inclusion, and enhancing access to quality and affordable healthcare to the under-served. IFC invested close to $380 million to support infrastructure development in the country during the last fiscal.