Two-Day Explosion in Bond Offerings

More than $8 billion in debt securities from at least 10 companies were issued during the period.
Stephen TaubAugust 13, 2004

Seemingly out of nowhere, a whirlwind of debt offerings descended on the bond markets in the past two days. At least 10 companies trotted out more than $8 billion in debt securities during that period, including three companies that completed jumbo offerings.

The rash of bond offerings compares to a mere $25.3 billion of new bonds that were sold in all of July, the third straight month in which bond sales lagged the amount of cash returned to investors through maturities and redemptions, according to Reuters. The news service cited CreditSights, the fixed-income research service, for its figures.

Among the offerings were UnitedHealth Groups issuance of $1.5 billion of debt in three parts, with individual tranches jointly led by J.P. Morgan, Wachovia Securities, Banc of America Securities LLC, and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. The company sold $550 million in three-year notes, $450 million in five-year notes and $500 million in 10-year notes, all rated A3 by Moody’s and Single-A by Standard & Poor’s.

SBC Communications Inc. sold $1.5 billion of senior debt in two parts,
led by Banc of America Securities LLC, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., and Goldman Sachs & Co. Half of the offering were 12-year notes and the other half were 30-year bonds, both rated A1 and A-plus.

For its part, Motorola Inc. issued $1.2 billion of three-year remarketing debt, led by J.P. Morgan and Merrill Lynch. The debt was priced to yield 4.041 percent, or 105 basis points above comparable Treasurys.

Further, American General Finance Corp., a unit of insurance giant American International Group, sold $500 million in three-year floating rate notes, up from an originally planned $300 million.

Prudential Financial Inc. sold about $690 million in two-year deferrable remarketed notes, led by Goldman Sachs & Co. and Morgan Stanley.

Qwest Communications International’s subsidiary, Qwest Corp., sold $575 million in 7-year notes. Meanwhile, Collins & Aikman Products Co. priced to issue $415 million in senior subordinated 7-year notes.

In the private-placement market, MGM Mirage sold $550 million of eight-year senior notes, while Lennar Corp. sold $200 million of three-year floating rate notes.

Among other smaller offerings, Pitney Bowes sold $350 million in 10-year global notes; Duke Realty sold $250 million in 10-year notes; Anheuser-Busch sold $250 million in 10.5-year notes; Georgia Power, a unit of Southern Co., sold $125 million in five-year senior notes; and Kimco Realty sold $100 million of seven-year medium term notes.

In addition, The Allstate Corp. priced to issue $650 million in 10-year senior notes. The notes will bear an interest rate of 5 percent.

Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman Corp. remarketed $690 million of its 5.25 percent senior notes due 2006. As a result of the remarketing, the interest rate on the notes was reset to 4.079 percent, effective August 16.

The remarketing was required under the terms of the Northrop Grumman equity security units originally issued in 2001. Proceeds from the remarketed notes were used to buy U.S. Treasury securities that are pledged to secure the stock purchase obligations of the holders of the equity security units, according to the company. The Treasury securities will be held by collateral agent Bank of New York.

In November 2004, Northrop Grumman will receive $690 million from the collateral agent and will issue common stock under the forward stock purchase contracts, which will complete the company’s equity obligations under the original equity security units.

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