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Infrastructure Debt Funds - Non-Banking Financial Companies (IDF-NBFCs)

  • Published
    21st Aug, 2023

In a release, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) detailed the revised guidelines for Infrastructure Debt Funds - Non-Banking Financial Companies (IDF-NBFCs) and the sponsorship of IDF-MFs by Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs).

What are Infrastructure Debt Funds - Non-Banking Financial Companies (IDF-NBFCs)?

  • An IDF-NBFC is a company and comes under the regulation of RBI.
  • An IDF-NBFC is a company registered as NBFC to facilitate the flow of long- term debt into infrastructure projects.
  • It raises resources through issue of rupee or dollar-denominated bonds of minimum 5-year maturity.
  • Only Infrastructure Finance Companies can sponsor IDF-NBFCs.
  • IDF-NBFCs would take over loans extended to infrastructure projects which are created through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) route and have successfully completed one year of commercial production.

Infrastructure Debt Funds (IDFs): 

  • IDFs are investment vehicles for channelizing investment into the infrastructure sector.
  • They are sponsored by commercial banks and NBFCs in India in which domestic/offshore institutional investors, specially insurance and pension funds can invest through units and bonds issued by the IDFs.

Eligibility parameters for NBFCs as sponsors of IDF-MF

NBFCs sponsoring IDF-MFs are required to comply with the following requirements:

  • The NBFC should have a minimum Net Owned Funds (NOF) of Rs.300 crore; and Capital to Risk Weighted Assets (CRAR) of 15%;
  • its net NPAs should be less than 3% of net advances;
  • it should have been in existence for at least 5 years;
  • it should be earning profits for the last three years and its performance should be satisfactory;
  • the CRAR of the NBFC post investment in the IDF-MF should not be less than the regulatory minimum prescribed for it;
  • The NBFC should continue to maintain the required level of NOF (Net Owned Fund) after accounting for investment in the proposed IDF and
  • There should be no supervisory concerns with respect to the NBFC.

About the revised guidelines:

  • According to the revised definition, an IDF-NBFC refers to a non-deposit-taking NBFC that is authorized to refinance infrastructure projects that have completed at least one year of satisfactory commercial operations.
  • Additionally, IDF-NBFCs can directly finance toll-operate-transfer (TOT) projects.
  • To qualify as an IDF-NBFC, entities must adhere to specific net owned funds (NOF) and regulatory capital requirements.
  • The guidelines said that IDF-NBFCs are allowed to raise funds through rupee or dollar-denominated bonds with a minimum maturity of five years.
  • For better asset-liability management (ALM), they can also utilise shorter tenor bonds and commercial papers (CPs) up to 10 per cent of their total outstanding borrowings.
  • Additionally, external commercial borrowings (ECBs) can be used, provided they have a minimum tenure of five years and are not sourced from foreign branches of Indian banks.
  • Need:
    • In order to enable IDF-NBFCs to play a greater role in the financing of the infrastructure sector and to harmonise the regulations governing financing of infrastructure sector by the NBFCs, a review of the guidelines applicable to IDF-NBFCs has been undertaken, in consultation with the Government of India.

Other provisions:

  • IDF-NBFCs are also subject to exposure limits, allowing up to 30 per cent of their Tier 1 capital for a single borrower or party and up to 50 per cent for a single group of borrowers or parties.
  • Risk weights are determined based on risk weights applicable to NBFC-Investment and Credit Companies (NBFC-ICCs) for computing CRAR.
  • The RBI has also outlined eligibility criteria for NBFCs to sponsor IDF-MFs.
  • These criteria include factors such as net owned funds, net NPAs, years of existence, profitability, and other supervisory concerns.
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