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India's Jio Financial Services in talks for maiden bond issue - bankers

People stand next to a logo of Jio Financial Services ahead of its listing ceremony at the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai

By Bhakti Tambe

MUMBAI (Reuters) -India's Jio Financial Services is in early talks with merchant bankers for its maiden bond issue, four bankers told Reuters on Monday.

The company may look to raise 50 billion rupees ($600.6 million) to 100 billion rupees through the issue and may tap the market in the last quarter of this financial year, the bankers added.

Jio Financial, which was carved out of Reliance Industries, is in the process of getting its credit rating and other necessary approvals, they said.

The bankers declined to be identified as they are not authorised to speak to the media.

Jio Financial, in a statement to stock exchanges on Tuesday, said "currently, the company has no plans to raise money by way of bond issuance or otherwise".

The company, which was listed in August, plans to establish itself as a full-service financial services firm in a rapidly growing market, including auto, home loans and other products, competing with the likes of Bajaj Finance.

"Jio Financial has got a strong promoter parentage and it is expected that the company will automatically get AAA credit rating," said Venkatakrishnan Srinivasan, founder and managing partner at Rockfort Fincap.

"While the pricing will depend on factors like tenor and balance sheet size of the company at the time of issue, being an NBFC, it will be 10-20 basis points higher than RIL."

Earlier this month, Reliance Industries raised 200 billion rupees via 10-year bonds in the largest issue by a non-financial Indian firm, paying 40 basis points more than the government's borrowing cost.

Ahead of the bond issue, bankers have recommended that Jio Financial issue shorter-term commercial papers and put bank borrowing lines in place to establish pricing, said two bankers.

It has also been recommended to issue bonds not longer than five-year maturity, according to four bankers.

"Since the company is new, the documentation and compliance will take time, and we could see them coming in before end of March" a merchant banker with a private bank said. ($1 = 83.2440 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Bhakti Tambe; Editing by Varun H K)