HSBC and Reliance Industries have used an electronic letter of credit (LC) for an export deal, the first time this has happened in India.

The e-presentation was conducted with Bolero’s digital platform, meaning the trade could be settled in a single day, rather than the standard 15 days it would take to exchange physical LCs.

While the second corporate participant has not been named, GTR understands that it is an Italian thermoplastics firm. The bank on the other side of the transaction was Intesa Sanpaolo.

The participants have been keen to talk up the significance of the deal, saying that the door has been opened to digitisation in India’s trade finance sector.

Head of global trade and receivables finance for HSBC India, Aditya Gahlaut, says: “This first step we’ve taken with e-Presentation has big implications for companies in India and elsewhere. It shows that the participants in a cross-border trade – from producers to banks and shippers – are willing to collaborate to achieve an end-to-end digital transaction. It also shows that collaboration is worthwhile, optimising companies’ working capital so they can move on to their next deal sooner.”

Reliance’s group treasurer Soumyo Dutta adds: “Reliance expects global trade to make a rapid shift to electronic platforms in the coming years. This transaction marks the first step in evolving the ecosystem where all the key players participate to drive efficiencies and lower costs.”

*This story was updated on November 17 to note that the counterparty to the deal was Italian, rather than Australian.