ICICI Bank to raise $500 million from overseas debt market

Wednesday, 5 August, Mumbai: India’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank today hit the US dollar debt market with a benchmark issue, under which it plans to raise up to $500 million, market sources said.

The five-year bond sale is a part of the bank’s $7.5 billion global medium-term note programme, and will be carried out from its Dubai IFC branch.

The bonds will be listed on the Singapore Exchange, the sources added.

The bank has reportedly roped in Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase and StanChart as advisors for the deal.

However, none of the bankers were ready to talk, saying that the issue is yet to be closed, while ICICI Bank could not be reached immediately.

International rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service have rated the proposed US dollar-denominated senior unsecured notes at BBB- and Baa3, respectively.

In a note issued from Singapore today, S&P said it has assigned BBB- long-term issue rating to the issue from ICICI Bank under the foreign currency BBB-/stable/A-3 ratings’ methodology.

“The BBB- rating on the notes reflects the long-term counterparty credit rating on the bank,” S&P said, adding the proposed notes will constitute direct, unconditional, unsecured, and unsubordinated obligations of ICICI Bank.

Moody’s, which also issued a statement from Singapore said the current issue in the market is part of the Chanda Kochhar-led bank’s $7.5-billion global medium-term note programme.

The drawdown will be carried out from the bank’s Dubai branch and the bonds will have a maturity of 5 years and will be listed on the Singapore Exchange.

Moody’s attributed the Baa3 rating to ICICI’s Baa3 baseline credit assessment that is underpinned by the bank’s solid franchise as the country’s largest private sector bank by assets worth over $100 billion, and its strong capitalisation, liquidity, and earnings profile.

Moody’s said the strong rating also takes into consideration the challenging domestic operating environment, which could lead to a further deterioration in the asset quality.

Other factors listed by Moody’s include, high buffers to withstand further asset quality deterioration, including strong pre-provision income generation, high loan loss coverage levels and high levels of capitalisation; and improvement in core operating performance characterised by improving funding profile and cost-income ratios.