Cathay Pacific raises $650 million in first U.S. dollar bond in 25 years

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A passenger walks to the First Class counter of Cathay Pacific Airways at Hong Kong Airport in Hong Kong, China April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

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May 9 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific (0293.HK)has raised $650 million in its first U.S. dollar bond in 25 years, a term sheet seen by Reuters showed on Monday.

The deal consisted of 5.25-year senior unsecured notes priced at 4.875%, the term sheet showed.

The final pricing was 32.5 basis points cheaper than indicated by the deal's book runners when launched earlier in Asia on Monday.

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Cathay did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

The airline will use the proceeds to bolster its working capital levels and fund general corporate purposes, the term sheet said.

A U.S. dollar bond will be the pandemic-hit carrier's first since 1996 as it primarily has issued its debt in Hong Kong dollars.

Cathay issued HK$6.74 billion ($869.51 million) of convertible bonds in Hong Kong dollars in January to shore up liquidity, prompting its shares to record their worst daily decline in more than 12 years.

The carrier's shares were up 1.8% on Monday.

Cathay said in March it was focused on preserving cash after posting a record annual loss of HK$21.65 billion, caused by a travel downturn, restructuring costs and fleet writedowns.

Passenger numbers fell by 98.7% compared with a year earlier, though cargo carriage was down by a smaller 32.3%.

Cathay had planned a U.S dollar bond issuance in 2019 at the peak of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong but pulled the transaction because of the price demanded by investors.

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Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Editing by Kim Coghill

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Scott Murdoch has been a journalist for more than two decades working for Thomson Reuters and News Corp in Australia. He has specialised in financial journalism for most of his career and covers equity and debt capital markets across Asia based in Hong Kong.