Amazon-Backed India Retailer to Tap Bond Market Amid Cash Crunch


(Bloomberg) -- An Indian retailer is set to tap the rupee bond market to cut funding costs, in a test of whether the nation’s measures to bring a thaw in the domestic credit crisis have succeeded.

Future Retail Ltd. is seeking bids Friday to raise as much as 2 billion rupees ($27 million) via a three-year note, a person familiar with the matter said. The company, with an A- domestic rating, this week approved raising 6.5 billion rupees via bonds to replace its existing high-cost debt.

The Inc.-backed retailer joins other stressed Indian issuers looking to build cash buffers to withstand the coronavirus pandemic’s financial fallout. Policy makers have announced several steps to bring down borrowing costs, from sharp cuts in benchmark interest rates to a liquidity boost and additional credit lines in recent weeks.

Future’s liquidity has worsened due to the stringent measures taken to control the spread of the coronavirus in the country, Brickwork Ratings said in a note earlier this month. The company sought to reschedule repayments on its existing bonds, according to the rater.

Future Retail’s spokesman didn’t immediately respond to calls seeking comment.

The cost of three-year funding for A rated issuers has slumped to 7.65%, near the lowest in at least 15 years, according to Bloomberg-compiled data. Future Retail, by contrast, is offering 9.95% on the new bond.

The fund raising is crucial for the firm looking to refinance short-term dues of about 21 billion rupees in May and June, according to Care Ratings. Amazon holds an indirect stake of 1.3% in the retailer.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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