When Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan rang the opening bell at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in May this year to mark the listing of the Masala bonds sold by the state-government-owned Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), it was celebration time in Kerala. Masala bonds are investment products issued by Indian entities outside the country and denominated in rupees.
KIIFB’s debut bond on LSE raised Rs 2,150 crore as part of a plan to collect up to Rs 50,000 crore for the agency, set up by the state government to raise resources and fund infrastructure projects. It was the first-ever offshore capital market issuance from a state-level entity.
Although it is a customary practice for the exchange to let the CEO or president of the listing company do the honours of opening the market as a public relations exercise to please the clients, the event was made out to be a great achievement for Pinarayi Vijayan personally and the state government in general.