GMR raises US$300 million for Hyderabad airport

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GMR Hyderabad International Airport, a step-down subsidiary of GMR Airports, has raised US$300 million through a high-yield senior secured bond with a five-year tenor. The proceeds of the offering will be used to fund the expansion of Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad.

This was the first foreign high-yield offering (a high paying bond that has a below investment-grade credit rating) by an Indian company under the new external commercial borrowings (ECB) framework. It is GMR’s second high-yield bond issuance. The first one, priced in 2016, was used to refinance rupee debt.

“GMR chose a foreign bond issue as their previous bond issue was received well by the international investors and the bonds had priced at a good level even though it was high yield,” said Manisha Shroff, a partner at Khaitan & Co, the Indian legal adviser to GMR.

“Given the stress in the Indian banking system and liquidity issues in the Indian market, the foreign bond market was possibly more appealing. Dollar bonds also diversify the sources and currency of their funding,”

“With the introduction of the new ECB framework, the end uses had to be analysed in light of the revisions in the rules and the removal of the track-based approach,” Gautham Srinivas, a partner at Khaitan & Co, told India Business Law Journal. “The end-use prescriptions, which were there in the extant guidelines, have been completely replaced by a negative list of uses.”

The complications of tariff determination by Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India, ongoing litigation in this regard and its effects on the revenues of the issuer were some of the key challenges in the bond offering, said Shroff.

The firm was represented by partners Shroff and Srinivas, principal associate Rolwine Alva, senior associate Oindrila Bhowmik and associates Nandini Paliwal, Meenakshi Kurpad and Enakshi Jha. Partner Ritu Shaktawat and senior associate Sneh Shah advised on the taxation aspects. The firm carried out due diligence, reviewed and drafted the offering memorandum from an Indian law perspective and drafted the security document.