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FM eases FII investment norms in long-term infra corp bonds
September, 13th 2011

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, while presenting the budget this year had enhanced the limit for foreign institutional investors (FIIs) investment in long term corporate bonds focused on the infrastructure sector from USD 5 billion to USD 20 billion.

But a review of the scheme recently showed that investments under the scheme were only USD 109 million.

Finance ministry has now relaxed the norms for this scheme. The revised scheme is likely to be operational from October 15, reports Rituprana Bhuyan of CNBC-TV18.

The original scheme involved a ceiling of USD 25 billion. Investments under the scheme were allowed in bonds having a minimal residual maturity of five years and a lock in period of three years, which didnt work out.

Hence, the finance ministry created a USD 3 billion window August 9 from the overall USD 25 billion limit. Qualified foreign investors (QFIs) were permitted to subscribe to debt schemes pertaining to infrastructure sector.

Now, the finance ministry as a relaxation norm, has proposed to carve out a USD 5 billion window and the initial maturity remains to be five or more years at the time of issue. But the lock in period has been proposed at one year and the residual maturity has been kept at one year from the date of purchase by an FII.

This move is expected to attract foreign investors that look at one year time frame for investment into debt. As far as remaining USD 70 million is concerned conditions remain the same as announced by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the budget. The scheme is expected to be notified by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on October 15.

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