DLA Piper advises on debut issuance of Masala Bonds by the National Highways Authority of India

DLA Piper has acted on the debut issuance by the National Highways Authority of India of its rupee denominated bonds and the listing of the bonds on the London Stock Exchange and Singapore Stock Exchange.

This was a benchmark transaction with INR 30 billion raised for a five year bond. It is the world's largest such issuance to date.

The National Highways Authority of India is an autonomous authority of the Government of India under the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, which is responsible for the development, maintenance and management of the national highways infrastructure in India.

Until recently, the ability of Indian companies to borrow from the overseas market was predominantly limited to foreign currencies. This situation changed in 2015 when the Reserve Bank of India issued guidelines which allowed Indian issuers to raise funding through the issuance of rupee-denominated debt instruments.

The advent of masala bonds helps with economic ties across the Indian and UK markets. With Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, commenting during his trade mission to India earlier this year that the UK is "perfectly placed to be India's financial partner of choice".

Ronan Mellon, partner in DLA Piper's Finance practice, commented that "As the Masala Bond market grows and develops it is fitting that DLA Piper, as a global law firm with a leading debt capital market capability, is involved in that development and growth and is able to advise issuers and managers on how to successfully navigate the Masala Bond market."

Joywin Mathew, legal director in DLA Piper's Finance practice and a member of the India group at DLA Piper, commented that: "Masala Bonds are gaining in popularity. It is a testament to the increasing popularity of the product that the National Highways Authority of India was able to raise 30 billion rupees for a five year maturity. We are actively engaged in this market and expect similar large issuances in the near future. We were also privileged to advise on this marquee transaction, which is so strategically important for both nations."