LONDON, March 26 (IFR) - Unrated Danish shipping
conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk gave a fillip to the
under-supplied sterling market on Tuesday, when it began
marketing a 12-year bond at 200bp over the 5% March 2025 UK Gilt
via Barclays, RBS and Santander GBM.
So far in 2013, German construction company Hochtief and
French retailer Rallye have priced unrated bonds, although these
were sub-benchmark and denominated in euros, as were a
smattering of other unrated deals from a handful of less
familiar small-cap companies.
Bankers said that the issuance of unrated paper would likely
pick up moving forward, as it can offer the yield that investors
are hunting for in the current low-return environment.
Observers struggled to give an indication of fair value on
the new Maersk paper, chiefly because unrated sterling bonds
rarely print, especially not from credits that have an implied
investment grade rating, like Maersk.
It was loosely compared to British retailer John Lewis,
which has a bond due in January 2025 quoted around 166bp over
Gilts. While both issuers are unrated, there are considerable
differences in geography and industries, though.
Maersk was last in the public market in August last year
when it brushed off the usual mid-summer lull to price a EUR750m
seven-year issue at 200bp over mid-swaps.
Last month, Maersk beat annual profit forecasts and
predicted its container shipping business, which accounts for
14% of global container capacity, would benefit from a pick-up
in world trade this year, helping to overshadow a warning on
falling earnings at its oil business.
(Reporting By Josie Cox; editing by Andrew Perrin)