Investors reminded of dangers of investing in perpetual bonds
Without the step-up, said investors, the perpetual has very little upside and a lot of potential downside. The lack of a maturity date means that the perps could behave like 30-year bonds. That means a significant potential drop in case benchmark rates rise. The longer the maturity on a bond, the bigger the price drop for every percentage point of yield rise.
On the flip-side, in the unlikely event that rates are lower five years from now, Reliance has the option to call the bonds and refinance them more cheaply, eliminating the upside for investors. "If rates collapse they can take the bond back," said a portfolio manager in Hong Kong. "It is entirely the company's prerogative to call them, which makes this deal very opportunistic," said the Hong Kong manager.
Besides the technical arguments, there is also the issue of what happens if Reliance does not call the bonds 2018. This problem was evidenced when Deutsche Bank did not call a lower tier 2 bond in December 2008. The decision caused the prices of similar bonds to drop up to US$10. It also sparked a 30 basis points widening in the European iTraxx subordinated financial index to about 237.5 basis points, while Deutsche Bank's subordinated credit default swaps widened by about 45 basis points.
Given the lack of incentive to call, Asian investors were
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