HUDCO 8.76% Tax Free Bonds Issue – September 2013

This post is written by Shiv Kukreja, who is a Certified Financial Planner and runs a financial planning firm, Ojas Capital in Delhi/NCR. He can be reached at skukreja@investitude.co.in

After a reasonably good response to the REC tax-free bonds, the next eligible company to come up with such an issue is Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO). The company will be launching its issue from the coming Tuesday, September 17.

The rates the company is going to offer in this issue are higher than the rates offered by REC in its issue, which is still open and getting closed on September 16. There are two reasons for it, firstly, HUDCO issue is ‘AA+’ rated and that is why it can offer rates 10 basis points (or 0.10%) higher than any ‘AAA’ rated issuer. Secondly, the average G-Sec rates have been ranging higher in the past 10-20 days than they were earlier when REC came up with its issue.

As compared to REC’s 8.26% (10Y), 8.71% (15Y) and 8.62% (20Y), HUDCO is offering 8.39%, 8.76% and 8.74% rate of interest for the respective tenors.

Though the interest will be paid annually, I do not know the interest payment date as yet, as the final prospectus filed on September 11 is still not available on SEBI’s website, on BSE’s website, on HUDCO’s website and not even on any of the lead managers’ websites. It is quite disappointing for me not to have the prospectus available for public reference even three days prior to the issue opening date.

HUDCO is allowed to raise Rs. 5,000 crore from tax-free bonds this financial year, out of which it has already raised Rs. 190.80 crore through private placement. So, now it plans to raise the remaining Rs. 4,809.20 crore through this public issue, including the green-shoe option of Rs. 4,059.20 crore. The base issue size is Rs. 750 crore.

The official closing date of the issue is October 14 and the company may extend or preclose the issue, depending on the investors’ response to the issue.

There are many things which are common in this issue and the REC issue, so I will quickly state those features which are different in this issue.

Rating of the issue – CARE and India Ratings have assigned a rating of ‘AA+’ to this issue, which is also ‘Secured’ in nature. HUDCO is wholly-owned by the government of India, so the investors’ investment is quite safe.

Listing – HUDCO will get these bonds listed only on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The allotment and the listing will happen within 12 working days from the closing date of the issue. Investors can apply for these bonds either in physical form or in demat form, as per their comfort and requirement.

Interest on Application Money & Refund – The investors will get interest on their application money also, from the date of investment till the deemed date of allotment, at the same rate of interest as the applicable coupon rate is. Unlike REC issue which is to pay 5% p.a. interest on the refund money, HUDCO will pay the applicable coupon rate.

Categories of Investors & Basis of Allotment – The investors again have been classified in the following four categories and each category will have certain percentage of the issue reserved for the allotment:

Category I – Qualified Institutional Bidders (QIBs) – 10% of the issue is reserved

Category II – Non-Institutional Investors (NIIs) – 20% of the issue is reserved

Category III – High Net Worth Individuals including HUFs, NRIs & QFIs – 30% of the issue is reserved

Category IV – Resident Indian Individuals including HUFs, NRIs & QFIs – 40% of the issue is reserved

QIBs portion had 20% of the issue reserved in the REC issue and after observing their response in that issue, their reserved portion has been reduced to 10% in this issue. Category III HNI investors will get this 10% share of the pie. NRIs are eligible to invest in this issue as well, on a repatriation basis as well as on non-repatriation basis. Qualified Foreign Investors (QFIs) are also eligible.

Minimum & Maximum Investment – There is no change in the minimum investment requirement of Rs. 5,000 i.e. at least 5 bonds of Rs. 1,000 face value each. Retail Investors’ investment limit stands at Rs. 10 lakhs, beyond which they will be considered as HNIs and will get a lower rate of interest.

Interest rates of this issue look very attractive to me. Earlier I used to say that the investors in the 30% or 20% tax bracket should consider these bonds, but now I advise investors even in the 10% tax bracket to go for these bonds. Though not strictly comparable, these bonds are attractive even against IIFL NCDs or Muthoot NCDs.

I think the way Indian rupee and the stock markets have recovered in the past 10 days or so, the G-Sec yields should also start falling soon. Going forward, I think the rates should not be higher than these HUDCO bonds, unless US Fed Reserve has something very dramatic in store for us in its meeting on September 17-18.

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