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Railways eye overseas markets; to raise $200 mn

BS Economy Bureau in New Delhi | July 07, 2004 09:24 IST

The Railways are planning to tap overseas markets this fiscal to raise additional resources of up to $200 million.

This could be in addition to the market borrowing of Rs 3,400 crore (Rs 34 billion) by the Indian Railways Finance Corporation, an increase of over 14 per cent from the Rs 2,970 crore (Rs 29.7 billion) in the Revised Estimate for 2003-04.

"We are planning to raise resources from abroad. We have asked various banks to make presentations to us for the purpose. We are looking at a fixed-rate bond, but we are yet to finalise whether it will be through the external commercial borrowings route or other means," Vijaylakshmi Vishwanathan, financial commissioner in the railway ministry, told reporters in New Delhi.

Vishwanathan pointed out that last year, the Railways had successfully raised a syndicated loan of $75 million through the ECB route, in which several countries including some from the Middle East had participated.

Explaining the rationale behind the increase in the market borrowings by IRFC, she said the additional resources were needed for constructing more wagons to meet the projected increase in freight loading from 557 million tonnes to around 585 million tonnes.

"Since the rolling stock is leased to us by IRFC, there is a need for it to raise more money to generate more rolling stock," Vishwanathan said, adding that during the first three months of the current fiscal the freight loading was nearly 7 million tonnes more than last year's.

"With the indications of a good monsoon we are confident that we will meet and perhaps even surpass our freight target," she added.

IRFC mobilised Rs 2,775 crore during 2002-03 from domestic and overseas markets. During the year, IFRC achieved a net profit of Rs 334.5 crore (Rs 3.34 billion) and paid a dividend of Rs 101 crore (Rs 1.01 billion). It financed the acquisition of 68 electric locomotives, 92 diesel locomotives, 1,653 coaches and 4,731 wagons that have been leased to the Railways.

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