UPL Corporation, a Mauritius-based subsidiary of UPL Limited, has priced its 10-year dollar bonds at 173 basis points over the US Treasury yield to raise $300 million, investment bankers aware of the matter told FE. The initial price target of 200 basis points above the benchmark got revised downward by 27 basis points (bps) by the time of the final pricing. The bonds are being issued in the ‘Regulation S’ format—wherein mostly investors from Asia and Europe participate. “The issue witnessed considerable tightening of the spread. Even big names have seen just 25 bps of spread compression in recent times. The issue was over-subscribed multiple times,” said a banker close to the deal. UPL corporation had issued five-year dollar bonds in October 2016 to raise $500 million at a coupon rate of 3.25%. According to reports, the issue was priced at 200 basis points over the five year US Treasury yield.
Compared to this, the spread for the new, longer-tenure 10-year paper of the firm now stands at just 173 bps, indicating a significant compression. S&P Global Ratings has assigned its ‘BBB-‘ long-term issue rating to UPL Corp’s proposed senior unsecured notes due 2028. “UPL Corp intends to use the notes proceeds mainly to refinance its borrowings,” it said in a release. At the same time, Fitch Ratings had assigned a ‘BBB-(EXP)’ expected rating to UPL Corp’s proposed US dollar senior unsecured notes. “The final rating is subject to the receipt of final documentation conforming to information already received,” it said.
Credit Suisse, MUFG and ANZ were the joint global co-ordinators and active joint book-runners to the issue. DBS, JP Morgan, Citi and Rabobank were the passive joint book-runners to the deal. Meanwhile, NTPC is likely to soon hit the dollar bond market, according to a banker who also indicated that the company has mandated bankers for the deal. FE had earlier written that NTPC is likely to raise close to $400 million.
Despite the rising US Treasury yields, many companies are believed to be queuing up to tap the overseas debt market. The 10-year US Treasury yield was hovering close to 2.85% on Thursday evening. Last week, it had touched 2.95%—levels unseen since January 2014. This surge in yield may be a cause of concern for bond issuers as it may push up absolute borrowing costs unless spreads see significant compression. So far this year, foreign currency bond issuances from India have crossed $3 billion.