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When large sums of money are to be raised through fixed-interest securities sued by governments or major corporations, it is often to the benefit of both the issuer, who does not require the full amount authorized immediately, and the market, which needs time to absorb new issues, that the process is staggered over perhaps quite an extended period. Each proportion of the total is, at the time it is introduced, referred to as a tranche.

Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary, 3rd edt.