It is important to recognise that the rating
does not factor in the expectation of the default risk for the scheme itself,
as a fund/scheme generally cannot default. The rating should be interpreted as
an opinion about the strength of the fund’s investment policies, the expertise
and experience of the sponsors and investment managers, and the scheme’s vulnerability
to severe losses.
The rating does not also address the risk of a loss due to changes in the prevailing interest rates, credit spreads and other market conditions, and comment on the adequacy of market value to address the extent to which fund expenses and costs may reduce distributions to unit holders. The rating does not predict a specific level or a range of performance of a scheme/fund over any given time period and opine on the suitability or otherwise of a fund for investment or any other purposes.
IL&FS Financial Services Ltd (IFIN) had set up an infrastructure debt fund (IDF) under the mutual fund route, which will be governed by the mutual fund regulations of the Securities and Exchange Board of India. Effective 1 January 2017, the ownership of the asset manager and trustee company of the IDF was transferred to IL&FS Investment Managers (IIML), a subsidiary of IL&FS Limited, from IFIN. The ownership and management control of the IDF would remain within the IL&FS Group as the ultimate controlling shareholder in both entities IFIN and IIML.
The IDF (Series 1) has raised a corpus of INR7.5 billion from domestic investors on a private placement basis. The amount is spread over three schemes – INR2.32 billion for scheme A, INR2.35 billion for scheme B and INR2.83 billion for scheme C with tenors of five, seven and 10 years, respectively. The units were fully paid and subsequently listed on the National Stock Exchange. The schemes offer both dividend and growth options to its investors.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
The rating benefits considerably from IIDF being part of the IL&FS Group.
Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd is among India’s premier
financial and infrastructure institutions with an established presence across
the infrastructure spectrum as developer, financier and operator. Additionally,
the proposed new sponsor IIML has expertise in managing investments across
sectors including infrastructure and the IDF team benefits from the IIML team’s
management expertise in both operating and divestment of assets. IIML has been
a first-mover in the Indian infrastructure private equity (PE) space since late
1990s and has managed several pioneering infrastructure investments in sectors
such as telecom, waste management and city gas distribution. IIML also has
extensive fund raising and management experience with Indian as well
international institutions, which IIDF can leverage for further fund raising.
At end-February 2018, the fund invested the entire corpus in the non-convertible debentures of 12 projects/companies which have presence across diverse sectors. Around 8% of the corpus is invested in liquid instruments. Ind-Ra believes that the sponsor’s INR1.25 billion investment in the corpus demonstrates its confidence in IDF’s prospects.
Vast Experience of Investment Manager: In the agency’s view, the investment manager IL&FS Infra Asset Management Company Ltd (IIAML or the asset management company) has a reasonable track record of managing the portfolio, commensurate with the rating. Experience and structuring skills in financial services are considered critical ingredients for the commercialisation of infrastructure transactions. IIAML has senior professionals deputed from the sponsor group, including nominations to the board. The professionals have a decent experience in the sector and in the financial services business. IL&FS has structured its financial services division to cater to this critical need. The IL&FS Group has a significant focus on investment banking, asset management and infrastructure financing. The investment manager has benefitted from the vast and specialised expertise of over 25 years of the IL&FS Group in the infrastructure sector.
The fund’s investment management policies and risk management systems including control through internal auditing – all supported by a comprehensive compliance manual – are deemed robust and conducive to help it achieve its objectives. Board sub-committees have oversight over IIAML’s key functions.
Ind-Ra believes that the fund, pursuant to its investment criteria, has created a balanced and diversified portfolio within the overall ambit of the prescribed investment guidelines.
Strategy of Co-investing Favourable: The fund’s strategy of co-investing with few other investors should help it secure favourable transaction structures. It will also play an active role, where necessary, to ensure investee entities perform according to expectations. If one or more of the portfolio investments are stressed, IDF will quickly step into exercise creditor rights to harness IDF’s long-term economic value. This is characteristic of several infrastructure projects despite the short-term volatility in performance or cash flows.
Satisfactory Performance of Other Rated Series: According to the management, there have been no haircuts on any units managed by IL&FS IDFs.
COMPLEXITY LEVEL OF INSTRUMENTS
details on the complexity level of the instruments, please visit https://www.indiaratings.co.in/complexity-indicators.
Additional information is available at www.indiaratings.co.in. The ratings above were solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer, and therefore, India Ratings has been compensated for the provision of the ratings.
Ratings are not a recommendation or suggestion, directly or indirectly, to you or any other person, to buy, sell, make or hold any investment, loan or security or to undertake any investment strategy with respect to any investment, loan or security or any issuer.
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