RLPC-UPDATE 1-ABInBev in $13 bln loan refinance talks-bankers

LONDON Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:02pm EST

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LONDON Feb 15 (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR), the world's largest brewer, is talking to close relationship banks about refinancing $13 billion of loans, banking sources said on Monday.

The deal could be one of the biggest syndicated loans of the year.

Proceeds will refinance the remainder of $54.8 billion of loans that paid for ABInBev's $52 billion merger with U.S. brewer Anheuser-Busch in 2008 with three and five-year maturities, one of the sources said.

ABInBev has already refinanced most of the $54.8 billion of loans raised to pay for the merger bond issues and disposals which totalled $17.2 billion in December 2009.

In December, ABInBev said a $13 billion tranche C which matures in November 2011 had been reduced to $5.2 billion, and a $13 billion D tranche maturing in November 2013 had been reduced to $12 billion.

Highly-rated blue-chip borrowers like Henkel (HNKG_p.DE) (HNKG.DE) and Philips (PHG.AS) are taking advantage of lower loan pricing and longer five-year loan tenors to cut borrowing costs and stretch the maturity of their debt [ID:nLDE61A1VS].

ABInBev is rated BBB+ by Standard & Poor's and Baa2 by Moody's.

BBB/Baa2 rated Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) recently closed a 1.25 billion euro, three-year financing which pays 130 basis points over EURIBOR, compared to ABInBev's 175 basis points margin on its existing loan, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data. [ID:nLDE61B279]

ABInBev was not available to comment. (Editing by Dan Lalor)

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