SPH – BT

SPH to issue $300m fixed-rate notes

It is the first part of a $1b medium-term note programme

SINGAPORE Press Holdings (SPH) will issue $300 million of fixed-rate notes due in 2015 and has mandated OCBC Bank as dealer.

The issue, announced yesterday, is the first part of a new $1 billion multi-currency medium-term note programme. OCBC has also been appointed arranger for the programme.

SPH said that the net proceeds will be used as general working capital, for capital expenditure and corporate requirements such as acquisitions and investments, and/or refinancing existing borrowings.

At Nov 30, 2009, SPH had $570 million of secured debt. This was at an effective interest rate of 3.18 per cent, according to the latest annual report. It also had some $150 million of unsecured debt. According to the annual report, this was a term loan which, after taking into account interest rate swap arrangements, cost 2.5 per cent a year.

SPH is the latest large Singapore company to tap the local currency bond market. Last year, Temasek Holdings sold $600 million of 20 and 30-year bonds and followed that up earlier this month with a 10-year, $1 billion issue priced at 40 basis points over corresponding 10-year Singdollar swap offer rates.

In January, Sembcorp Marine quadrupled its multi-currency programme from $500 million to $2 billion for ‘flexibility to capitalise on any opportunities should the need arise’.

In September last year, SMRT’s $150 million issue of five-year, fixed-rate notes was two times subscribed.

In April last year, Asia-Pacific Breweries set up a $1 billion multi-currency medium-term note programme and has since issued two tranches to raise $140 million.

SPH publishes 17 newspapers in Singapore including The Business Times, as well as more than 100 magazines in the region. It also has a substantial property arm.

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