* New Development Bank says plan was approved on Monday
* Says plans to issue bonds in other local currencies delayed
* Approved six new projects, loan portfolio now over $5.1 billion (Recasts with NDB plan to issue yuan bond, adds comment)
By Brenda Goh
SHANGHAI, May 28 (Reuters) - The New Development Bank (NDB), set up by the BRICS group of major emerging economies, said on Monday it plans to raise 5 billion yuan ($782 million) through a yuan-denominated bond issue this year.
Leslie Maasdorp, the NDB’s chief financial officer, told reporters on the sidelines of the bank’s annual meeting in Shanghai that the issue would be part of a 10 billion yuan bond programme approved by the NDB’s board.
“Our next issue is going to be 5 billion renminbi,” he said.
“We have to just go through a series of regulatory approvals, we’ve already appointed underwriters ... It’s going to be a matter of a few months, it will be during the course of 2018.”
The bulk of the proceeds will go towards projects in China and the bank will carry out another yuan-denominated bond issue within the next two years, he said.
Headquartered in Shanghai, the NDB is seen as the first major achievement of the BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - since they got together in 2009 to press for a bigger say in the global financial order created by Western powers after World War Two.
In 2016, it completed the sale of a five-year, 3 billion yuan bond which was the first yuan-denominated green bond sold in mainland China by a multinational financial institution at the time.
However, plans to issue bonds in currencies belonging to its other member countries have been delayed, the NDB’s president, K.V. Kamath, said.
Kamath told Reuters in March last year that the NDB planned to raise up to $500 million via rupee-denominated masala bonds by the second half of 2017.
“We did not proceed with other issues because we thought it appropriate to get our international credit rating exercise done before we approach the markets,” he said, adding that they expect to receive the rating by July.
“The moment the rating exercise gets completed we will probably go into the other countries’ markets.” The bank has already received an AAA investment rating in China.
The NDB also announced that it had approved six new projects that take its loan portfolio to more than $5.1 billion.
The schemes include an environmental protection project being carried out by Brazil’s Petrobras, and a rural road construction and upgrade programme in India.
It said the approvals meant that it now finances 21 projects in its member countries. ($1 = 6.3971 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Brenda Goh; Additional Reporting by SHANGHAI Newsroom Writing by John Ruwitch)