Indian state chief minister rings bell at London Stock Exchange for listing masala bonds

CHIEF minister of Southern Indian state of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan rang the iconic opening bell at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) yesterday (17) to mark the listing of ‘masala bonds’ sold by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB).

Masala bond is a type of bond issued outside India. The bond is denominated in rupee, rather than the local currency.

Masala is an Indian word and it means spices or a mixture of spices used in Indian cooking.

The office of chief minister of Kerala tweeted: “KIIFB’s Masala bond has debuted on London Stock Exchange’s International Securities Market. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan opened trading in London today. Kerala also became the first sub-sovereign entity in India to achieve such a feat @LSEplc.”

Kerala state government agency, KIIFB aims to raise Rs 50 billion through masala bonds to fund various development projects in the state, according to an official statement.

It had raised Rs 21.5bn through its debut masala bond issue.

The KIIFB in a statement said: “This was not only the first-ever offshore capital market issuance from a state-level entity from India, but also the largest dual currency issue by a sub-sovereign backed entity from the entire emerging markets and Asia,”

“With a view to establishing its credit profile and market standing, KIIFB had undertaken a detailed rating exercise through two international credit rating agencies – Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.”

The bond with a five-year tenor has been admitted to LSE’s international securities market (ISM).

Vijayan, who is on a two-week official tour to Europe from May 8.

Last year, severe floods hit the southern Indian state and claimed 483 lives destroying huge private and public properties.

The Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report prepared by a United Nations team said Kerala may require Rs 310bn for rebuilding.

Till date, the masala bond market had seen issuance only from large Indian corporates and public institutions.

LSE claims to be the biggest masala bond centre in the world, with 49 such bonds listed across its markets.