ECB Process for Infrastructure Finance Eased

The Reserve Bank of India has issued a circular bringing external commercial borrowings (ECBs) by designated Infrastructure Finance Companies (IFCs) within the automatic route subject to certain limits. The relevant portion of the circular is extracted below:

On a review of the policy, it has been decided to modify the extant ECB policy in respect of the Infrastructure Finance Companies (IFCs) i.e. Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) categorised as IFCs by the Reserve Bank. As per the extant norms, IFCs have been permitted to avail of ECBs for on-lending to the infrastructure sector, as defined in the extant ECB policy, under the approval route. As a measure of liberalisation of the existing procedures, it has been decided to permit the IFCs to avail of ECBs, including the outstanding ECBs, up to 50 per cent of their owned funds under the automatic route, subject to their compliance with the prudential guidelines already in place. ECBs by IFCs above 50 per cent of their owned funds would require the approval of the Reserve Bank and will, therefore, be considered under the approval route.

This change is expected to enable infrastructure finance companies to meet their financing requirements through offshore borrowings. All other aspects of the ECB policy remain unchanged.

About the author

Umakanth Varottil

Umakanth Varottil is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore. He specializes in corporate law and governance, mergers and acquisitions and cross-border investments. Prior to his foray into academia, Umakanth was a partner at a pre-eminent law firm in India.

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