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Risk premium for Basel III instruments to increase: ICRA

The risk premium for Basel III security instruments is expected to increase for weaker banks with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday asking Lakshmi Vilas Bank to write down Rs 318.20 crore of its Tier 2 bonds, said a senior official of credit rating agency ICRA Ltd.

"RBI has set a precedence with the proposed write off as it first time a Tier II bond is being written off. Investors should factor in the risk in Basel III instruments as these instruments can be completely written off in case the bank gets into trouble," Anil Gupta Sector Head - Financial Sector Ratings, ICRA said.

"We expect the risk premiums for such instruments to increase for weaker private banks to increase, given this event," Gupta added.

The RBI wrote to LVB's Administrator on Thursday to write down Rs 318.20 crore worth of Unsecured Non-convertible Redeemable Fully Paid-up Basel III compliant Tier-2 Bonds before the scheme of amalgamation comes into effect on November 27.

The LVB had raised the money through Basel III Tier 2 bonds in three tranches.

The RBI cited the Information Memorandums of respective Basel III Tier 2 bonds issued by the LVB while communicating its decision to the LVB.

"If the relevant authorities decide to reconstitute the Bank or amalgamate the Bank with any other bank under Section 45 of the BR Act (Banking Regulation Act), such a bank shall be deemed as non-viable or approaching non-viability and both the pre-specified trigger and the trigger at the point of non-viability for write-down of the Bonds shall be activated. Accordingly, the Bonds shall be written-off before amalgamation/reconstitution in accordance with applicable rules," the RBI told T.N. Manoharan, Administrator of the LVB.

According to the RBI, as Section 45 of the Banking Regulation Act has been invoked and the amalgamation scheme has been notified, the LVB is deemed to be non-viable or approaching non-viability and accordingly, the triggers for a write-down of Basel III Tier 2 bonds issued by the bank has been triggered.

"In light of the above provisions, such Basel III Tier 2 bonds would need to be fully written down before the amalgamation of the bank comes into effect," RBI said in its letter.

According to LVB, it also has Series VII Option B bonds (Unsecured Redeemable Non-Convertible Subordinated Lower Tier II bonds) amounting to Rs 50.50 crore.
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