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Shipping ministry to raise Rs 2,100 crore via tax-free bonds
July, 22nd 2011

The ministry of shipping plans to raise over 2,100 crore through tax-free bonds by September. The country's only corporate port, Ennore Port will raise 1,100 crore whereas JNPT has been given the nod to raise about 1,000 crore.

"A letter has been sent to the finance ministry and we expect the notification to come from Central Board of Direct Taxes shortly," a senior official from the Shipping ministry said. The coupon rate will be decided after receiving approval from the finance ministry.

The official added that the two ports have been given a go ahead first as they have a credit rating in place. A better credit rating facilitates in raising funds from the market at a lower borrowing cost. The Union Budget for 2011-12 allowed issue of 30,000 crore tax-free bonds for the infrastructure developments, of which 5,000 crore has been earmarked for the port sector.

The Indian ports would be raising tax-free bonds for the first time.

"Tax-free bonds are a good way of financing infrastructure projects. The pricing of a bond issue will depend on the credit rating of the ports. A good credit rating means mean lesser risk and hence making it attractive for investors," said Amy Mistry , manager (transportation advisory) at Feedback Infra.

The balance 3,000 crore will be raised by the end of the calendar year through Indian Ports Global , a state-owned company which will be set up on the lines of Dubai's DP World and Singapore's PSA International Pte to invest in overseas ports and terminals. The money raised will be used to finance the dredging operations and infrastructure requirements of various major ports.

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