What to Watch in U.S. Corporate Credit Markets This Week
An American flag flies outside the Chrysler Building in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg)

What to Watch in U.S. Corporate Credit Markets This Week

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. leveraged loan and high-yield markets will be watching for how banks wrap up their struggling sale of Shutterfly Inc.’s buyout debt this week. Loan investors expect commitments due on at least 10 deals for $6 billion, while the pipeline is thin for junk-rated issuance. Investment-grade borrowers may sell about $15 billion of bonds.

The syndication of loans and a high-yield bond to finance Apollo Global Management Inc.’s buyout of online retailer Shutterfly are expected to continue this week after failing to sell following investor pushback on price and terms. Commitments on the reworked debt sale were due Friday after banks had to fund the LBO, which closed before the loans and bonds could price after negotiations with investors dragged out.

Loans with commitments this week include technology solutions provider CDW’s $1.45 billion refinancing loan, Guidehouse’s $640 million of debt to help finance its planned acquisition of Navigant Consulting Inc. and Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc.’s $440 million loan. Meanwhile, Merlin Entertainments may launch a jumbo cross-border deal as soon as this week. The buyout loan may include about $592 million in U.S. dollar term loans as well as a U.S. dollar bridge facility.

Borrowers have launched loans worth about $50 billion so far this month, making September the biggest month for new deals in a year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Several companies including Shutterfly struggled to attract demand last week as investors forced some issuers to hike yields and sweeten terms.

Some junk-rated borrowers may hold off on plans to issue new debt this week to give investors time to digest the recent deluge of new bonds. Supply is favorable for money managers despite issuance remaining light, with net sales currently at negative $3.2 billion year-to-date, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. About $49 billion of bonds have left the junk market as companies got upgraded to investment-grade, which more than offset the $45.9 billion of organic net issuance that added to junk volume, according to the bank.

“More than 72% of this year’s gross issuance has been associated with debt repayment and/or refinancing,” Goldman Sachs credit analysts led by Lofti Karoui wrote in a report last week. “As a result, a portion of the $45.9 billion of organic net issuance likely includes maturities that have been ‘pre-funded’ but have not yet reached their call (or maturity) date, resulting in an artificially inflated net supply figure (until those maturities formally roll off).”

In the U.S. investment-grade corporate bond market, dealers are projecting as much as $15 billion in new supply over the five days. A record 127 issuers have taken advantage of the current low interest rates and heightened investor demand to borrow over $154 billion for debt refinancing in September.

Read more: Sizzling Bond Market Draws Record Number of Blue-Chip Companies

“If rates stay here I think supply will be heavy going into the end of the year,” Scott Colyer, chairman and chief executive officer at Advisors Asset Management Inc., said in an interview. “Because the absolute cost of borrowing is so low, companies will think of borrowing and with rates this cheap, M&A and share buyback look pretty good.”

In the distressed world, bondholders will be keeping a close eye on debt payments due Monday, including from Intelsat SA, Mallinckrodt Plc, Iconix Brand Group Inc., Jason Industries Inc. and Ultra Petroleum Corp.

Credit investors will also be watching for potential market volatility that may be sparked by the repurchase agreements market. The Federal Reserve is gearing up for the third quarter, with $100 billion overnight repo operations expected to be repeated Monday.

“Spreads are narrow, there’s plenty of liquidity so at this point in time, the credit markets are just fine, operating as they should,” said Colyer. “As we get closer to the end of the cycle, we have started to move up the credits quality scale.”

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