India's first infrastructure debt fund assigned 'AAA' rating

New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) Ratings agency Crisil Friday assigned 'AAA' ratings to India Infradebt Limited, the country's first infrastructure debt fund under the non-banking finance company structure.

The fund, jointly promoted by ICICI Bank, Bank of Baroda, Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and Citicorp Finance (India), awarded its first sanction letter to a road project.

Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram said a high ratings would make infrastructure debt funds competitive in the refinancing market.

The first sanction letter was given to a project by Jaiprakash group for refinancing of NHAI-bid road-project of Zirakpur-Parwanoo section of NH-22 built by Himalayan Expressway Limited.

Mayaram said debt funds would play an important role in financing of infrastructure projects in the country.

India targets to invest nearly $1 trillion in infrastructure between 2012-17. Half of this money is expected to come from private sector.

"We require about $1 trillion for infrastructure sector, out of which $500 billion have to come from private sector. Therefore, we have to provide multiple instruments to the private sector to raise funds," Mayaram said at a function organised at the finance ministry in North Block.

Managing director and chief executive of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar said the "rating would enable Infradebt to access long-term funds for Indian infrastructure sector at low interest rates from domestic markets as well as pension and insurance funds."


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