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EPFO, LIC Buy One-Sixth Of Power Debt

A bail-out plan launched last year for money-losing power companies provides for states to convert up to three-fifths of the total debt held by their utilities into bonds to revive the companies

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India's largest state insurer and its pension fund together bought about one-sixth of the bonds issued by regional governments for their power companies last fiscal year, a minister said on Thursday.

A bail-out plan launched last year for money-losing power companies, reeling under a debt of more than $60 billion, provides for states to convert up to three-fifths of the total debt held by their utilities into bonds to revive the companies.

Bond traders had been looking for data on buyers of the utility bonds to gauge appetite for debt tied to the utilities as more such offerings are expected this year.

Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal told parliament that the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), which manages around $100 billion in savings, bought 118.48 billion rupees of the so-called Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) bonds, while the Life Insurance Corp (LIC) bought bonds worth 43 billion rupees.

Banks, as expected, bought the majority of the debt totalling 995.41 billion rupees in the fiscal year that ended on March 31.

(Reuters)