Apple sets record with C$2.5 billion Maple bond market issue

TORONTO (Reuters) - Apple Inc priced its C$2.5 billion ($1.96 billion) in seven-year bonds in a Canadian-dollar-denominated issue, one of the joint book-running managers said on Tuesday, setting a record amount for an issuer in the Maple bond market.

A man looks at the screen of his mobile phone in front of an Apple logo outside its store in Shanghai, China July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

The deal, which also tied as the biggest corporate issue in Canada, was priced at a spread of 80 basis points over the curve, said Brad Meiers, head of debt capital markets and syndication at HSBC Securities (Canada) Inc.

The deal comes as the Maple bond market, which had previously been dominated by foreign banks, attracts more issuance from companies.

AB InBev did a C$2 billion two-tranche deal in May, according to Thomson Reuters IFR.

The pricing compares with unofficial guidance which had been set in the area of 83 basis points over the curve plus or minus 3 basis points.

Apple’s size and brand name allows the company to borrow cheaply, said Altaf Nanji, head of corporate research at Manulife Asset Management.

In a regulatory filing on Tuesday, Apple said the proceeds of the transaction will be used for general corporate purposes, including repurchases of common stock and payment of dividends.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the size or price of the deal.

Despite the size of the deal, investors said it will not erode the capacity of the market to absorb bonds from other issuers after a period of slower issuance throughout the summer.

“The deal may have taken out some near-term liquidity but it doesn’t mean that there won’t be room for other issuers as well, said Darcy Briggs, a fixed-income portfolio manager with the Bissett unit of Franklin Templeton Investments.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Bill Rigby and Marcy Nicholson