The Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) issued and got its first green bond listed at London’s International Securities Market recently.
Government-owned REC successfully raised $450 million through the green bond issue, which was subscribed 3.9 times over with huge interest from Asian and EMEA investors. The green bond has a maturity of 10 years with an annual yield of 3.965 per cent. The bond issue was certified by the Climate Bonds Initiative.
REC is likely to use the funds raised to finance clean energy projects. While the company has not specified exactly what projects would benefit, it is likely that renewable energy projects focused on rural electrification would be the focus.
An increasing number of public sector companies in India are now looking at green bonds to raise funds. The low cost of raising funds through this route is perhaps a critical driving factor. The primary lending rate of Reserve Bank of India remains at 6.25%, while institutions, especially government-owned, can raise millions of dollars by offering international investors a yield rate less than half of that.
The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) raised Rs 700 crore ($109 million) through masala (Indian rupee-denominated) green bonds earlier this year. With full backing from the government, the Agency is planning to float two more green bond issues to raise an additional $350 million. All this money is expected to be pumped into the Rs 13,000 crore ($2 billion) debt finance that IREDA is planning to sanction for renewable energy projects in FY2017-18.
The Indian government has approved plans by public sector companies NTPC, NLC, Power Finance Corporation, and PTC India to raise as much as $1 billion through issuance of green bonds. A number of these companies have already floated green bonds.