Mumbai: IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, on Friday said that it has launched a $1 billion masala bond programme to fund its investment activities in India.

The first tranche of $100 million under the programme, which opened last night on the London Stock Exchange, was sold to a range of investors, including asset managers, banks, and a pension fund in the United States and Europe, the statement said.

Masala bonds are rupee-denominated borrowings issued overseas.

“Our investment activities in India touched a record high last year. In line with our strategy, we have made big strides in the areas of affordable housing, SME finance, distressed assets resolution, renewable energy, logistics, and disruptive technologies. Our pipeline remains strong, and this masala bond programme will help us support our investment activities in the near and medium term," according to Mengistu Alemayehu, director, South Asia, IFC.

IFC uses masala bonds to raise rupee funds overseas, and brings the proceeds to India for investments.

“The bulk of our investments in India are in the local currency. The masala bond market remains an attractive source of financing, and we are tapping it again to fund an ever-growing pipeline," said Keshav Gaur, director, treasury client solutions, IFC.