World Bank arm bets big on Rupee-denominated bonds

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SummaryInternational Finance Corp (IFC), the asset management and investment unit of World Bank, which recently launched $1-billion offshore rupee bonds

International Finance Corp (IFC), the asset management and investment unit of World Bank, which recently launched $1-billion offshore rupee bonds, is likely to issue another $5 billion worth of rupee-denominated bonds in India over the next 10 years, finance ministry sources told FE.

Sources say while the current issue is meant for offshore investors, the upcoming issues will be aimed at local investors and will be used to finance IFC-funded infrastructure projects in India. IFC’s investments in India include infrastructure, logistics, financial services, health and education, agribusiness and manufacturing.

While the exact yearly break-up of the upcoming bonds is not yet known, officials in the finance ministry say IFC has sent a letter to officials in the capital markets division of the ministry, outlining plans for the upcoming issues. Apart from the investors targeted, the basic structure of the bonds is expected to remain the same.

Monish Mahurkar, director of IFC’s treasury client solutions in Washington DC, told FE about the current $1 billion issue: “Bonds under the programme will be issued in a series of tranches and offered and settled in dollars. The initial subscription, repayment of principal and coupon will be in dollars but tied to the dollar-rupee exchange rate. So for the investor, the bond offers the convenience of a dollar-denominated bond, but the proceeds are linked to the dollar-rupee exchange rate. Mahurkar added that IFC will convert bond proceeds from dollars into rupees on the domestic spot exchange market. The biggest advantage of any currency-linked bond is that the risk borne out of exchange rates is borne by the buyer and not the issuer.

Speaking about the tenure of the current issue, Mahurkar said, “We initially expect to issue two-three years tenor bonds given our current understanding of market appetite. Over time we can possibly issue longer tenors, going out perhaps to 10 years.” He, however, added that IFC still did not know the yield rate on the issue.

“Off-shore issuance by a triple-A investor such as IFC will crowd in foreign investors to invest in rupees, especially those who invest only in highly rated bonds

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