iconimg Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Anupama Airy and Mahua Venkatesh, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 15, 2013
Soon you may have wider choices in the bond market to park your savings while being exempted from paying taxes. To attract more takers and channelise insurance and pension funds as also household savings, finance minister P Chidambaram as part of his forthcoming budget proposals may allow state-owned India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL) to stand as a guarantor for bonds floated by private infrastructure companies.

Bond finance enables infrastructure companies to avail of long-tenure debt at fixed interest rates from sources other than banks.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/1/16_01_13-buss25b.jpg

At present, since infra companies are typically regarded as "below investment grade" until they become profitable, insurance and pension funds shy away from investing in their project for the first few years.

"The finance ministry may allow IIFCL in this budget to provide guarantees for specified infrastructure bonds, to enable such bonds to be rated as 'investment grade', thereby being able to attract insurance and pension funds as well as household savings," a senior government official told HT.

"IIFCL would use its exposure for guaranteeing bonds of infrastructure companies in order to raise their credit rating to AA or AAA after which such bonds will be able to attract large investible pools of funding, which currently stay away due to high risk perception," he added.

"The finance ministry is already looking at several ways to develop the bond market and channelise household savings into it… this is one formula, which is under consideration," the official said.

With its experience in infrastructure financing, IIFCL is well suited to provide guarantees for bonds to be issued by private infrastructure companies, he added.