Bermuda hires banks ahead of potential bond issue

By added on 23/07/2013

Government hired banks to arrange investor meetings in the US and Europe ahead of a potential international bond issue, reports Royal Gazette.

A Reuters report, citing one of the lead managers, said Bermuda, rated Aa3/AA-/AA-, has mandated Barclays and JP Morgan to arrange the meetings, which will take place in New York on Wednesday, Boston on Thursday, Los Angeles on Friday and will wrap up in London the following Monday, July 29.

Finance Minister Bob Richards, Finance Secretary Anthony Manders and Director of International Business Travis Gilberts will attend the roadshow.

A US dollar-denominated bond issue in the 144A/Reg S format may follow, subject to market conditions, Reuters said.

Last month, rating agency Fitch downgraded Bermuda's long-term issuer default rating to AA- from AA, with a negative outlook, citing constraints in sustaining higher debt levels due to a narrow revenue base and underdeveloped local capital markets.

"Weak economic performance and absence of fiscal adjustment measures weigh on public finances and debt dynamics," said Fitch.

The firm, however, underscored the country's strong external creditor position driven by the large external assets held by reinsurance, fund administrators and trust management industries.

“Bermuda was last in the international debt markets in June 2012, when it priced a US$475m 10-year bond at par to yield 4.138 per cent or 250bp over US Treasuries, generating some US$1.3bn in demand,” Reuters noted.

“Investors largely shrugged off an ill-timed Fitch downgrade of the credit that same day, finding solace in a relatively attractive pickup to the underlying bonds. On that occasion, HSBC acted as bookrunner, while Butterfield was co-manager.”

The bonds have been trading at a wide bid-offer of 96.25-98.25 or 4.63 per cent -4.37 per cent on a yield basis.