November 10, 2017 / 11:20 AM / a year ago

Alibaba said to plan dollar bond return

HONG KONG, Nov 10 (IFR) - Alibaba Group Holding is said to be planning to sell US dollar bonds this month, hot on the heels of better-than-expected quarterly revenues and the e-commerce giant’s Singles’ Day retail event on November 11.

The Chinese group is expected to announce the mandate next week and price the transaction before the Thanksgiving holiday on November 23, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.

US-listed Alibaba, China’s dominant online retailer, is eyeing long-term maturities for the financing, according to one of the sources.

Alibaba did not reply to a request for comment.

A return to the US dollar market would be Alibaba’s second international bond since 2014, when it sold a US$8bn six-tranche offering that was the largest bond by an Asian company at the time.

That offering included US$1bn of 1.625% three-year bonds and US$300m of floating-rate notes that mature on November 28.

The company’s outstanding notes are trading near their tighest spreads since issue, with the US$700m 4.5% 2034s last quoted at 73bp over Treasuries, according to Thomson Reuters data. Alibaba also sold US$2.25bn of 2.5% 2019s, US$1.5bn of 3.125% 2021s and US$2.25bn of 3.6% 2024s.

It sealed a US$5.15bn syndicated loan in May following commitments from 13 banks.

Alibaba, whose Tmall and Taobao shopping platforms lead online retail in China, last week raised its outlook for the year after beating forecasts with a 61% revenue increase in its second quarter. Its shares are up 111% since the start of the year.

Chinese spreads have declined in the US dollar bond market in recent months, allowing the government to issue a US$2bn sovereign bond last month at tight levels.

Alibaba’s bonds also come after Apple surprised investors on November 7 with a US$7bn six-part bond at maturities of two, three, five, seven, 10 and 30 years.

Alibaba attracted orders totalling US$57bn for its debut dollar bond in 2014. US investors anchored the trade by taking about three-quarters of the notes, two sources familiar with the transaction said at the time.

Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley were active bookrunners, with Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs as the passive bookrunners on its debut.

Alibaba, rated A1/A+/A+, reported revenues of Rmb55.12bn (US$8.34bn) for the quarter to September, above a Rmb52.2bn forecast from analysts polled by Reuters. (Reporting by Frances Yoon; Editing by Steve Garton)

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