New Delhi: Indian companies raised over $2.6 billion from overseas markets through external commercial borrowings (ECBs) and foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs) in the month of February, a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data said.
Sixty four companies mobilized $863.80 million for various projects via the automatic route, under which approval is not required from the RBI or the government. Through the approval route, 12 companies garnered over $1.74 billion, the central bank said in the statement Monday.
According to the data, Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Communications Ltd garnered $925 million for redeeming its FCCBs and seven entities of Vodafone Group Plc mobilized $750 million to fund rupee expenditure.
Larsen & Toubro Ltd, the country's largest engineering and construction giant, borrowed $71.46 million, while Vijay Mallya's United Breweries Ltd raised $50 million to finance rupee expenditure.
Renault Indian Pvt Ltd, the Indian arm of the European automobile company Renault S A raised $29 million for a new project, while Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertiliser Co Ltd, a Gujarat government enterprise, mopped up $43.03 million for capital goods expenditure, among others.
Last month, in the Union Budget 2012-13, the government allowed companies in power, aviation, roads and low-cost housing sector to take ECB route for fund raising, as the cost of these funds are low, compared to high interest rate regime in India.
In September last year, the government increased the external borrowings cap with tenor of five years or more under the automatic route to $750 million from $500 million earlier.
The government doubled the ECB limit under the automatic route for the services sector to $200 million and for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to $10 million from the earlier $5 million.
The government had already raised the limit on total borrowing by all companies in a single year to $30 billion from $10 billion.
Indian firms use ECBs as an additional source of funding to increase resources available in the domestic market. FCCBs are also governed by regulations similar to ECBs.