Suneet Maheshwari National Highway projects have been experiencing slowdown

Kolkata, Oct 21, 2010 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS): With excitement about the power sector approaching a cooling point, roads and construction sectors are stepping up to take its place, a top infrastructure investment firm official said here on Thursday.

Speaking at a press conference here, L&T Infrastructure Finance chief executive Suneet Maheshwari said even though the third quarter began slow for these sectors but they were picking up fast as the monsoons recede.

“The National Highway projects have been also experiencing slowdown but I expect them to pick up by December,” he said.

The unit of construction conglomerate Larsen & Toubro had announced last week it was going to raise Rs 700 crore through 10-year bonds for retail investors and company execs were here to talk to the media about the tax-saving bonds under the new 80 CCF section of the Income Tax Act.

Announced in this year’s union budget to facilitate through direct participation in infrastructure investment by the public through tax incentives, the new section allows investments by individuals up to Rs 20,000 to be tax deductible for the current financial year.

The bonds with interest rates ranging between 7.5 percent with a buyback option of five years and 7.75 percent with a buyback option of seven years, opened on last Friday and the issue closes Nov 2, company officials said.

The company, that claims yields of up to 17.2 percent through the bonds, pitched its offering as better than its peer Infrastructure Development Finance Company’s (IFDC) larger retail infrastructure bond issue, that closed on Oct 18.

Citing better security with its higher AA+ ratings compared to IDFC’s AA- from service rating companies and more “investor friendly measures”, the company bills its National Stock Exchange-listed issue as a smarter choice.

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