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IFC to Sell $2.5 Billion in Rupee Bonds for India Infrastructure

The International Finance Corp. plans to raise as much as $2.5 billion selling rupee-denominated bonds and swaps to help finance India’s infrastructure, the lender said today.

The Washington-based unit of the World Bank will raise 150 billion rupees ($2.5 billion) over the next five years, following a $1 billion offshore rupee bond sale that was completed in April. Deep, liquid domestic capital markets will allow India’s private sector access to long-term rupee financing, the IFC said in a statement.

Bonds sold under IFC’s rupee financing program “offer a safe investment alternative for domestic pension funds and other investors, while mobilizing capital to address India’s infrastructure needs,” IFC Chief Executive Officer Jin-Yong Cai said in the statement.

The quality of India’s infrastructure is ranked 85 among 148 nations, behind China, Bhutan and Indonesia, in the Global Competitiveness Report for 2013-14 published by the World Economic Forum. IFC’s issuance of longer-tenor rupee debt will deepen the Indian bond market and also provide “much needed” finance to infrastructure projects, India’s Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram said in the statement.

IFC said it has invested $1.2 billion in India for funding infrastructure, financial inclusion and healthcare.

Last month, the Reserve Bank of India eased rules for lenders to sell rupee-denominated bonds with a minimum maturity of seven years that are exempt from reserve requirements to boost funding for infrastructure and affordable housing.

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