RLPC-Norsk Hydro launches $1.5 bln loan refinancing

LONDON Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:38pm EDT

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LONDON Oct 16 (Reuters) - Norwegian aluminium company Norsk Hydro has launched syndication of a $1.5 billion loan to refinance an existing undrawn $1.7 billion facility that is due to mature in July 2014, banking sources said on Wednesday.

The financing is for five years with two one-year extension options.

BBB/Baa2 rated Norsk Hydro is paying a flat margin of 45 basis points (bps) over Libor on the new financing. Bookrunners and mandated lead arrangers are invited into the deal on $175 million tickets for a 10 bps arrangement fee and a 30 bps participation fee, one of the sources said.

Average loan pricing for European Triple B rated companies fell to 48 bps in the third quarter from 66 bps in the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data, as heightened competition between banks to win mandates has pushed down margins.

"It is correct that our current credit line expires in 2014. We have previously stated that it would not be unnatural to establish a new credit line before the current one expires, however we will not comment any further on this process," Halvor Molland, vice president, communication at Norsk Hydro said.

Norsk Hydro's existing $1.7 billion facility was arranged in 2007 by BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and DnB NOR. That financing was arranged at the height of the market and was for a straight seven years.

Norsk Hydro tapped the loan market in March 2009 for a 750 million euro ($1.01 billion), three-year credit facility via bookrunners and mandated lead arrangers BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, DnB NOR, Nordea, SEB and Societe Generale. ($1 = 0.7412 euros) (Editing by Christopher Mangham)

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