Borrowers Storm U.S. High-Grade Bond Market With 21 Deals

Corporate America is rushing to sell bonds in a post-Labor Day borrowing binge unlike any in recent memory.

Caterpillar Inc. is leading at least 21 companies tapping the U.S. investment-grade market, putting Tuesday among the busiest days ever by deal count. Other names looking to issue new debt include Home Depot Inc. and the financing arm of American Honda Motor Co.

The week after Labor Day is normally one of the busiest of the year. Forty-six issuers sold over $68 billion the same period last year. Wall Street investment-grade syndicate desks are projecting between $40 billion to $45 billion for this week, with about half of the volume expected to come during Tuesday’s session. The dealers are calling for $130 billion to $140 billion for the month.

“Issuers want to take advantage of the open window between the August holiday, and the potential for taper-induced volatility later in the year,” said Gregory Staples, head of fixed income at DWS North America. “Levels are tight and investors have cash, so there is no reason to wait.”

Borrowers Storm U.S. High-Grade Bond Market With 21 Deals

Walmart Inc. is expected to hold a call with sustainability-focused credit investors in connection with its recently published green financing framework. 

Issuers are taking advantage of an attractive funding environment. Borrowing costs are expected to rise when the Federal Reserve begins tapering its support for financial markets, and U.S. benchmark Treasury yields climbed to the highest level in weeks ahead of the sale of $120 billion of debt starting Tuesday.

“Investment-grade corporate bond issuance underwhelmed in August, particularly on a net basis, setting us up for a big back-to-school September shopping spree,” said Nicholas Elfner, co-head of research at Breckinridge Capital Advisors in Boston.

In high-yield, just two deals hit the market from pizza company Papa John’s International Inc. and specialty chemicals supplier Solenis. But Wall Street estimates for September sales range from $35 billion to $60 billion, according to six banks surveyed by Bloomberg, with offerings likely to include a growing pipeline of acquisitions and leveraged buyouts. 

If the high end of junk-bond projections is hit, that would far exceed the $47 billion issued in September of 2020, and would be the busiest month of this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“While we are expecting a busy month of new issuance after a quiet end to August, between a late Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah it looks like a slow start to the month,” said Ken Monaghan, co-head of high-yield at Amundi US.

U.S.

Bonds in Mexican state oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos rallied to the highest since June 14 after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the nation has begun a process of refinancing the company’s debt after receiving a $12 billion transfer from the International Monetary Fund.

  • The U.S. leveraged loan market saw at least nine deals launch Tuesday in what’s expected to be a busy post-Labor Day week
  • BMW AG and Hyundai Motor Co. are expected to kick off September issuance in securitized debt. U.S. supply for asset-backed securities is up 56% year-over-year at $203.1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News
  • U.S. TelePacific Corp. has seen weak performance as it seeks to execute a business pivot, earning it a ratings cut from S&P Global Ratings. The telecommunications provider, which does business as TPx Communications, was downgraded one notch to CCC+ last week.
  • For deal updates, click here for the New Issue Monitor
  • For more, click here for the Credit Daybook Americas

Europe

Europe’s bankers continued to fire out deals on Tuesday with 17 transactions in the region’s primary market.

  • The so-called “greenium” benefiting ethical borrowers around the world proved elusive for Spain. In its debut offering of sustainable securities, the Mediterranean nation raised 5 billion euros ($5.9 billion) of 20-year debt at a six-basis-point premium to conventional notes on Tuesday
  • Elsewhere, Deutsche Telekom agreed to sell its Dutch unit to Warburg Pincus and Apax Partners for 5.1 billion euros, one of its largest divestments in recent years

Asia

A handful of dollar deals were announced on Tuesday morning following the U.S. Labor Day holiday.

  • Royal Bank of Canada is marketing a dollar benchmark-sized five-year covered deal, while Kommuninvest readies a $1 billion four-year transaction

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