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Investors scoop up Oracle bonds

Reuters/ AFR | July 10, 2013
Bond investors gobbled up a new issue Tuesday from software giant Oracle, which jumped into the market at a time when many borrowers have been worried about a spike in interest rates.

That tight pricing, however, meant Apple paid nothing in the way of new issue concession. Apple's $US5.5 billion 10-year, for example, priced at 2.4 per cent at a time when Treasuries were 1.66 per cent - around 100 basis points tighter than the 2.64 per cent level on Tuesday.

Although Apple is rated double-A plus to Oracle's single-A plus, investors could not resist the appeal of picking up 51 basis points of extra spread by buying Oracle's 5.5-year compared with Apple's 1 per cent 2018s at 44 basis points, and the 35 basis points extra that Oracle's 10-year offered versus Apple's 2.4 per cent 2023s at 75 basis points over Treasuries.

With activist shareholders pressing tech companies with large pools of offshore cash to spread the wealth around, and rates expected to climb in the weeks and months ahead, the success of the Oracle deal means other issuers are likely to follow suit.

"The move in rates has caused a few issuers to look at the environment and question whether or not they should wait to come to the bond markets, or risk missing out on what is still an accretive (corporate financing) opportunity," said Danish Agboatwala, a credit analyst at Barclays.

"We have seen a number of large blue-chip technology companies issue debt this year to pay extra dividends or buy back shares, and we expect more infrequent issuers to come to market as well, given what are still historically low rates."


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