IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, issued a 1.7 billion rupee-denominated bond (equivalent to about $25 million) as part of its strategic support to Indian companies who are preparing to issue Masala bond, or rupee-denominated bonds in offshore markets.
Over the past two years, IFC’s Masala Bond program has played an important role in deepening India’s capital markets, prompting the Reserve Bank of India to authorize Indian companies to issue similar bonds in offshore markets. IFC is supporting Indian companies seeking to issue Masala bonds by providing advice and sharing its experience as a pioneer issuer in this market. This latest bond marks a further step in IFC’s efforts since bond proceeds will be used to invest in forthcoming Masala bonds by Indian companies.
“Investors have shown strong demand for global rupee bonds, despite the volatility in emerging-market currencies,” said IFC Vice President and Treasurer Jingdong Hua. “We have seen even greater momentum following the Reserve Bank of India’s recent approval for Indian corporations to issue Masala debt. IFC will continue to support India’s capital market development and help bring international investors to India.”
IFC’s latest issuance raised a total of 1.7 billion rupees in four-year Masala bonds—all were purchased by KBC Asset Management, a European fund manager. The yield on the bonds was 6.5%.
“We have been a longstanding supporter of IFC’s Masala bond program as it offers us a simple mechanism for getting exposure to India, in a triple-A rated and increasingly liquid format,” said Bob Maes, Head of Fixed Income Emerging Markets at KBC Asset Management SA.
In all, IFC has issued the equivalent of $1.7 billion in Masala bonds over the past two years. Listed on the London Stock Exchange, the bonds are issued under IFC’s $3 billion global rupee bond program.
India is IFC’s top country exposure. IFC’s committed portfolio in India is over $5 billion as of June 30, 2015. In FY 15, IFC committed $1.4 billion in new investments. In addition to strengthening local capital markets in India, IFC is focused on boosting financing in infrastructure and logistics, promoting financial inclusion, and expanding access to high-quality and affordable healthcare.