In a first for an Indian chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday opened the floor for trading at the prestigious London Stock Exchange (LSE) and attended the listing ceremony of a masala bond from Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). Masala bonds are essentially offshore bonds that are denominated in Indian rupees.
Kerala’s Left government believes that the Rs 2,150 crore of masala bonds sold by KIIFB will assist in attracting investments and funds especially for rebuilding efforts post the calamitous floods last year in the state. The masala bonds have been listed in the International Securities Market.
The idea has been the brainchild of Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac, who was also present along with the chief minister in London. Kerala also happens to be the first state in the country to issue masala bonds.
A statement issued by Darko Hajdukovic, head of Fixed Income, Funds and Analytics, UK Primary Markets at the LSE before the chief minister’s visit had said, “London Stock Exchange warmly congratulates KIIFB on its landmark debut masala bond. Our markets have enabled issuers to raise over $7.5 billion equivalent, allowing masala bonds to evolve from a specialist segment to a mainstream asset class. KIIFB’s bond highlights London’s status as a leading international financing centre, offering issuers access to the deepest pool of long-term international investor capital as well as best in class listing solutions.”
KIIFB is the first sub-sovereign entity in the country to tap into the offshore rupee international bond market.
The chief minister is on a 13-day, four-nation European tour as part of which he spoke at the ‘World Reconstruction Conference’ at the UN headquarters in Geneva which discussed the 2018 floods in the state. He will also launch the KSFE Pravasi Chitty for Europe and meet potential investors.