Ford raises $158 mln with its first "dim sum" bond

BEIJING, March 15 Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:40pm EDT

BEIJING, March 15 (Reuters) - Ford Motor has raised 1 billion yuan ($158 million) from its first-ever yuan-denominated bond issue in Hong Kong, the automaker said, joining a trickle of foreign firms that have tapped the so-called dim sum debt market.

The bonds, with an annual interest rate of 4.9 percent, mature in March 2015, the U.S. company said in a statement on Thursday.

The firm is following in the tracks of the world's largest heavy machinery maker, Caterpillar Inc, which issued its second dim sum bond last July. McDonalds Corp and Unilever have also tapped the dim sum market for funds.

Proceeds from Ford's offering will help finance general corporate expenses at its China operations.

Ford makes Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo and other sedans in China in a three-way tie-up with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co Ltd and Japan's Mazda Motor Corp.

It also holds 30 percent of Jiangling Motors Corp , which makes Ford's Transit vans.