LONDON, Jan 24 (IFR) - Belgium's Groupe Bruxelles Lambert
was forced to withdraw its EUR1bn bond offering on Thursday
after investors baulked at terms they considered too expensive.
GBL, the holding company which has stakes in
French electric/gas utility GDF Suez and drinks giant Pernod
Ricard among others, was to come out with a revised offer later
in the day.
The group had been looking to raise EUR1bn with bonds that
would convert into GDF shares at a 20%-25% premium and pay a
coupon of 0.375%-1.000%.
But analyst valuations of the deal indicated it would be a
hard sell. Barclays valued the bonds, which were offered at 100,
GBL, controlled by billionaire Albert Frere, went ahead with
the offer on Thursday morning even though bankers had expressed
concerns that the terms were too aggressive.
Convertible and exchangeable bonds - debt issuance that
investors can convert into shares of a company - have
increasingly come into favour in Europe in the past six months.
GBL itself raised EUR400m in exchangeable bonds in September
2012, and banks working on the latest deal said there should be
no trouble selling the new EUR1bn of debt.
The group is using one-third of its 6.9% stake in GDF Suez
for the bonds, though this number may now have to increase. The
bonds have a maturity of four years.
BNP Paribas Fortis, Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale and UBS
are joint bookrunners for the deal, while Rothschild is advising
(Reporting by Robert Venes; Editing by Owen Wild and Marc