The Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board on Friday celebrated its first masala bond listing on the London Stock Exchange with a market open ceremony. Masala bonds are bonds issued outside India but denominated in Indian currency.
Market open ceremonies take place each day at 8 am local time (1.30 pm Indian Standard Time) at the London Stock Exchange headquarters. “The bespoke [customised] market opening mechanism is launched using an engraved glass tablet which is given to the individual opening the market as a memento of the day,” the stock exchange’s website said.
The board is the first regional entity in India to enter the offshore international masala bond market. The board has raised $312 million (Rs 2,150 crore) from the bonds. The bond has been listed on the London Stock Exchange’s International Securities Market.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was invited by LSE officials to open the trade for the day. “KIIFB’s Masala bond has debuted on London Stock Exchange. It was a privilege to open the trading in London today,” he said on Twitter. “Kerala also became the first sub-sovereign entity in India to achieve such a feat.”
KM Abraham, the board’s chief executive officer, described the listing as a milestone for the company. “KIIFB strives to be at the forefront of creating a sustainable development model for infrastructure financing in the emerging markets and an exemplar for best practices in corporate governance and fund management,” he said.
“KIIFB is the first sub-sovereign entity in India to access the international debt capital markets in this manner. This transaction has realised our objective of diversifying our sources of funding by accessing capital from international investors,” Abraham added.
Deputy Mayor of London for Business Rajesh Agrawal said that the new listing “further enhances London’s role as a leading international finance centre, attracting global issuers to its markets and strengthening our relationship with Kerala and India”. He claimed this is further proof that London is the best city in the world to conduct business.
Financial institution HDFC had in 2016 got its masala bond listed on the London Stock Exchange, the first Indian entity to do so. The National Thermal Power Corporation and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency also have got masala bonds listed on the exchange.