India tax-free bond sales struggles start

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India Infrastructure Fin, Rural Electrification and Power Finance - raised $197 mn yesterday. (Reuters) India Infrastructure Fin, Rural Electrification and Power Finance - raised $197 mn yesterday. (Reuters)
SummaryIndia Infrastructure Fin, Rural Electrification and Power Finance - raised $197 mn yesterday.

Three public sector undertakings (PSUs) - India Infrastructure Finance Co (IIFCL), Rural Electrification Corp (REC) and Power Finance Corp(PFC) - raised Rs 10.85 bn ($197 mn) from their respective tax-free bond sales yesterday.

This fell short of the intended total of Rs 15 bn.

With nine companies allowed to issue a total of Rs 535bn of tax-free bonds this fiscal year, bankers feel there is unlikely to be enough demand for the entire potential offerings if the investor base is not widened to include more corporates.

PFC, which missed its target of raising Rs 5bn by just garnering Rs 2.85bn from its first such sale for this financial year, points to a likely possibility of these tax-free sales turning damp squibs sooner than expected.

IIFCL, which already raised Rs 5 bn from a tax free sale last week, managed to get Rs 3 bn from the latest offering, while REC got its Rs 5bn.

State-run Oil India was again the biggest investor in REC's sale with its Rs 2 bn investment, while Allahabad Bank put in a similar amount in PFC's bond offering.

The trio were raising up to Rs 5bn each - the maximum allowed per issue for such sales under the private placement route. The 10-year and 15-year bonds offered by these companies will pay coupons of 7.21% and 7.38%, respectively.

IIFCL is also offering a 20-year tranche at 7.41%. Banks were asked to bid at a premium over the par value of the bonds. IIFCL's bonds last week were bid at 100.01.

Bankers are also unhappy that issuers are not leaving anything on the table for arrangers. Compared with last year when arrangers raked in fees of up to Rs 1 per amount arranged by them, this year, the fees are slashed to up to Rs 0.05.

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