Indian industry borrowed USD 1.05 billion from foreign markets last month, including through rupee denominated bonds (RDBs). In contrast, the borrowings were USD 1.32 billion in May last year. However, the two sets of data are not comparable as the RDB route was not there until September. As per RBI data, of the total in May this year, external commercial borrowings (ECB) and RDBs contributed almost equally at USD 523.95 million and USD 525.76 million respectively.
But June onwards, it may be difficult for companies to float rupee bonds overseas as they will be subject to scrutiny from Reserve Bank’s Foreign Exchange Department before every such issue. The RDB route has become a popular source of fund raising.
Six entities issued rupee bonds — popularly referred to as masala bonds — including the National Highways Authority of India’s USD 465.66 million (Rs 3,000 crore) for road construction. J M Enviro Technologies Pvt Ltd raised USD 32.91 million (Rs 212 crore) and HM Industrial USD 23.28 million (Rs 150 crore) through RDBs.
Those among taking the ECB window were Idea Cellular (USD 214 million) for refinancing of earlier such borrowing, Renew Wind Energy (USD 73.10 million) for power generation and Crown Beers India (USD 54.33 million) for general corporate purpose.