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NHAI set to raise Rs 10,000 cr through tax-free bonds

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The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) plans to raise Rs 10,000 crore through tax-free bonds. The state-owned entity is set to issue the first tranche of bonds on December 28.

The issue size would be Rs 5,000 crore, with an option to allot additional shares worth Rs 5,000 crore in case of over-subscription. “The proceeds from the issue would be used to finance various highway projects across the country,” said J N Singh, member (finance), NHAI.

Bonds with a tenor of 10 and 15 years would be issued, and these would carry coupon rates of 8.2 per cent and 8.3 per cent, respectively, payable annually. The bonds have rated 'AAA' by Crisil, and Fitch.

Of the total issue, forty per cent is reserved for companies and financial institutions, 30 per cent for high net worth individuals and Hindu undivided families and 30 per cent for normal retail investors. “Corporate investors would be allotted bonds on a first-come-first-served basis, while for retail investors, the allotment would be carried out on a proportionate basis,” said Singh.

The issue would be closed on January 11. However, has an option to close the issue after a minimum of three days, or extend it by 30 days. “We may be looking at extending the issue to allow retail investors from smaller cities to invest in these bonds,” Singh said.

Out of the four infrastructure finance companies that have been permitted to raise a total of Rs 30,000 crore in 2011-12 by the Union government, NHAI has been authorised to raise up to Rs 10,000 crore through tax-free bonds. Other companies that have launched include Housing and Urban Devel-opment Corporation (Hudco) and Power Finance Corporation. SBI Capital Markets, AK Capital and MCS are the lead arrangers for the issue.

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