Stoneridge Plans Debt as Spreads Signal Economic Recovery: New Issue Alert

Stoneridge Inc., the maker of electrical parts and systems for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, is marketing notes as relative yields on speculative-grade corporate debt signals a “nascent recovery” in the economy.

Stoneridge plans to sell $175 million of seven-year notes, it said in a statement distributed by PR Newswire. Proceeds will be used to buy back its 11.5 percent debt due in 2012, the Warren, Ohio-based company said.

Issuance of junk-rated corporate bonds is surging as investors gain confidence the economy won’t tumble back into recession and relative yields hover near the lowest in four months. Spreads have tightened to 635 basis points after touching 1,886 basis points in March 2009 and “have leveled off at a magnitude consistent with a nascent recovery,” Standard & Poor’s Diane Vazza wrote in a report on Sept. 21.

The risk premium is “consistent with the end of previous recessionary periods, and we expect it to remain at about the current level in the near term,” Vazza, managing director of global fixed income research, wrote in the report.

The so-called distress ratio for speculative-grade corporate bonds declined to 11.8 percent in September from 12.4 percent a month earlier, Vazza wrote in the report. Distressed debt yields more than 1,000 basis points, or 10 percentage points, more than Treasuries of similar maturities.

The extra yield investors demand to own high-yield corporate debt instead of Treasuries climbed 3 basis points yesterday from 632 basis points, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Index. Absolute yields on the debt rose 2 basis points to 8.15 percent.

High-yield bonds are rated below Baa3 by Moody’s Investors Service and BBB- by S&P. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

Record Coupons

Investment-grade spreads widened 1 basis point to 184 basis points, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. Corporate Master Index. Yields on the debt fell to 3.72 percent, the lowest in daily index data dating to Oct. 31, 1986.

Freescale Semiconductor Inc. sold $750 million of 10-year notes and NBTY Inc. issued $650 million of debt due in 2018 to lead $3.7 billion of high-yield debt offerings yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Microsoft Corp. sold $4.75 billion of bonds in a four-part transaction with the lowest three- and five-year coupon interest rates on record as investment-grade companies issued $8.05 billion of debt, Bloomberg data show.

Stoneridge’s debt maturing in May 2012 has climbed 63 percent since April 2009, when it traded at 61.6 cents on the dollar to yield 32.3 percent, according to Trace, the bond price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The debt rose to 100.5 cents yesterday, Trace data show.

The following is a description of at least $10.6 billion of pending sales of dollar-denominated bonds in the U.S.

Investment Grade

STADSHYPOTEK AB, the mortgage lender owned by Svenska Handelsbanken AB, plans to sell three-year covered bonds in a benchmark offering, according to a person familiar with the transaction, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set. A benchmark offering is typically at least $500 million.

HYUNDAI MOTOR CO., South Korea’s largest automaker, plans to sell bonds denominated in U.S. dollars, according to a person familiar with the matter. Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are managing the sale, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

BURGAN BANK, the lender part-owned by Kuwait Projects Co., plans to sell 10-year lower Tier 2 bonds in dollars, according to three people with knowledge of the sale. The notes may yield in the 8 percent range, the people said. The bank may sell $300 million to $500 million of bonds, two of the people said. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Standard Chartered Plc are managing the sale.

GERDAU SA, Latin America’s largest steelmaker, hired HSBC Holdings Plc, Banco Santander SA and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to sell benchmark bonds overseas, according to a person familiar with the transaction who declined to be identified because the terms aren’t set. Proceeds will be used to refinance debt, the company said Sept. 16 in a regulatory filing.

TRANSPOWER NEW ZEALAND LTD., which operates New Zealand’s electricity grid, started marketing at least $150 million of bonds to U.S. private investors, according to a person familiar with the plan. National Australia Bank Ltd. and Citigroup Inc. are managing the sale, the person said, asking not to be named as the details are private.

DOHA BANK QSC, Qatar’s third-largest bank, may raise as much as $1 billion from bond sales, its chief executive officer said. The debt is likely to be for five years and is meant to “fix the maturity mismatch” on the bank’s balance sheet, Raghavan Seetharaman said in a June 16 telephone interview from Doha. The bank will sell the bonds in dollars and the local riyal currency, the CEO said in a July 25 interview.

Not Rated

TPC GROUP INC. plans to sell $325 million of seven-year notes through its TPC Group LLC unit, according to a statement distributed by PR Newswire. Proceeds may be used to repay debt and finance a dividend, the company said in the statement.

STERICYCLE INC. plans to issue $175 million of seven-year, 3.89 percent notes and $225 million of 10-year, 4.47 percent debt after receiving informal commitments from 22 institutional investors to buy the securities, it said in a statement distributed by Business Wire.

High Yield

AFFINION GROUP HOLDINGS INC., the provider of marketing and customer-loyalty plans, intends to sell about $325 million of senior notes due in 2015. Proceeds may be used to repay the company’s senior unsecured term loan facility and for general corporate purposes.

HAPAG-LLOYD AG, Germany’s biggest container-shipping line, is planning a debut high-yield bond issue as it seeks to raise $500 million to refinance debt. The notes in euros and dollars will have maturities of five and seven years, according to a banker involved in the transaction. The five-year notes will be callable after three years, while the seven-year notes can be called after four years, said the banker, who declined to be identified before terms are set.

CHINA MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIES INC., which makes devices for tumor treatments, plans to sell as much as $200 million of five- year senior notes denominated in dollars, the company said in a statement distributed by PR Newswire. Proceeds will be used to buy back convertible notes due in 2011 and 2013, Fitch Ratings said in a statement. Deutsche Bank AG and Standard Chartered Plc will help the Beijing-based company arrange meetings with investors in Hong Kong, Singapore, London and the U.S., said a person familiar with the transaction who asked not to be identified because terms aren’t set.

LODGENET INTERACTIVE CORP. plans to sell $435 million of six-year notes, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

VERTELLUS SPECIALTIES INC. plans to sell $325 million of five-year notes, according to a person familiar with the offering. Proceeds may be used to repay bank debt, said the person, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set.

STONERIDGE INC. plans to sell $175 million of seven-year notes, according to a statement distributed by PR Newswire. Proceeds will be used to buy back the Warren, Ohio-based company’s 11.5 percent notes due 2012, it said in the statement.

HARVEST OPERATIONS CORP., a unit of Korea National Oil Corp., may sell $500 million of seven-year notes, according to a person familiar with the offering. Proceeds may be used to repay debt and for general corporate purposes, said the person, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set. The notes may be sold as soon as Sept. 27, the person said.

YASAR HOLDING AS, a Turkish company that makes dairy and meat products, paint and paper, plans to sell five-year notes denominated in U.S. dollars, said a person familiar with the matter. Barclays Plc is managing the sale, which will be used to fund a senior loan to Yasar from Barclays Bank Plc, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

EVERTEC INC., the processing unit of Popular Inc., a Hato Rey, Puerto Rico-based bank holding company, plans to sell $220 million of seven-year notes, according to a person familiar with the offering. Proceeds will help pay for the acquisition of 51 percent of the company by Apollo Management LP, said the person, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set.

LIBERTY TIRE RECYCLING plans to sell $200 million of six- year notes, according to a person familiar with the offering. Proceeds may be used to repay bank debt and for general corporate purposes, said the person, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set.

WEST CORP., the communications-services provider taken private by Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Quadrangle Group LLC in 2006, plans to sell $500 million of notes due 2018 to repay bank debt, according to Standard & Poor’s. S&P assigned the debt a grade of B, the credit rater said in a statement. Moody’s Investors Service ranked the notes B3, on step lower, it said in a separate statement.

DINEEQUITY INC., the owner of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and the IHOP pancake chain, plans to sell as much as $825 million of eight-year senior unsecured notes, the company said in a statement distributed by Marketwire. Proceeds may be used to help fund tender offers for “certain series of its subsidiaries’ outstanding securitization notes,” the Glendale, California-based company said in the statement.

REYNOLDS GROUP HOLDINGS LTD., the maker of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil, may sell $2 billion of senior secured notes and $1.5 billion of senior unsecured notes to help pay for its purchase of Pactiv Corp., according to a person familiar with the transaction who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set. Reynolds Group is also seeking $1.5 billion in loans to pay for the acquisition, the person said.

E-LAND FASHION CHINA HOLDINGS LTD, the Hong Kong-based apparel products provider, hired Morgan Stanley to help it sell $200 million of three-year bonds, according to a person familiar with the matter. Moody’s Investors Service ranked the proposed notes at Ba2, citing growing personal consumption in China, E- Land Fashion’s moderate scale and significant business volatility. Proceeds will be used mainly for capital expenditures and general corporate purposes, Moody’s said in the report.

Offerings in Pipeline

SYDNEY AIRPORTS CORP. hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc to arrange debt investor meetings in Asia and the U.S., according to a person familiar with the matter.

AEGIS LTD., an outsourcing unit of Essar Group, may sell the first non-convertible dollar bonds from an Indian information technology company. The company, which bought PeopleSupport Inc. in 2008, may sell its bonds as part of a financing package that would include a loan of as much as $350 million to consolidate debt, Chief Financial Officer C.M. Sharma said. The money would go to fund expansion

AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL GROUP INC., the insurer that’s majority owned by the U.S., may sell bonds to help repay its government bailout, it said in an Aug. 9 registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

GATX CORP., a Chicago-based company that leases railroad cars and other equipment, filed a shelf registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell debt securities and pass-through certificates. The debt securities may be senior or subordinated, according to the filing.

JSW STEEL LTD, India’s third-largest steelmaker, plans to sell dollar bonds for the first time in three years and as rupee-denominated finance costs rise. JSW has applied for credit ratings before a possible offshore bond sale to help build a 200 billion rupee ($4.3 billion) steel and power plant in West Bengal, Chief Financial Officer Seshagiri Rao said.

ARGENTINA may sell $1 billion of bonds due in 2017, El Cronista newspaper reported, without saying how it obtained the information. The government is also planning to offer an exchange for dollar bonds due in 2011 and 2012, the Buenos Aires-based publication said.

RURAL ELECTRIFICATION CORP., India’s state-owned lender to power projects, may sell as much as $300 million of bonds in U.S. dollars, Finance Director Hari Das Khunteta said in a telephone interview. Rural Electrification plans to raise $500 million from debt sales in the year ending March 31, he had said on April 16.

CZECH REPUBLIC plans to sell as much as $2 billion of dollar bonds to diversify from koruna and euro debt, Eduard Janota, former finance minister, said in an interview for Mlada Fronta Dnes newspaper.

POTASH CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN INC., the world’s largest fertilizer company by capacity, filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for $2 billion of debt securities.

INDONESIA plans to name three banks to help it sell about $650 million of Islamic bonds, Dahlan Siamat, director for Islamic financing at the finance ministry, said in a telephone interview in Jakarta. The government sold its first international Islamic dollar bonds in April 2009.

SRI LANKA hired HSBC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Royal Bank of Scotland to sell $1 billion of bonds, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said on its website on Aug. 12.

JORDAN plans to sell about $500 million of bonds, Finance Minister Mohammad Abu Hammour said in an interview on June 23. The sale will be denominated in U.S. dollars “as it’s a stable currency and the Jordanian dinar is pegged to it,” Abu Hammour said.

URUGUAY may sell as much as $1 billion of bonds in 2011, including $500 million of dollar-denominated debt, Carlos Steneri, director of public credit at Uruguay’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, said June 3 at a Latin Finance conference in London. The dollar-denominated bonds may have a maturity of 20 years or more, Steneri said.

MALAYSIA plans to raise about $1 billion from its first sale of conventional dollar bonds in eight years after drawing bids for five times the Islamic debt it offered, a finance ministry official said. The government may hire banks including CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. and HSBC Holdings Plc to arrange the sale by Sept. 30, said the official, who declined to be named as the discussions are private. Malaysia raised $1.25 billion from a Shariah-compliant dollar bond on May 27. Malaysia is rated A3 by Moody’s and A- by S&P.

GHANA is considering selling its second dollar bond in 2011 to tap investor demand as the start-up of oil production boosts economic growth and narrows the budget deficit, Deputy Finance Minister Fifi Kwetey said. The government was considering a “no-deal roadshow” to gauge international investors’ appetite, Kwetey said in a May 26 interview in Abidjan. Ghana sold its first global bond in 2007, raising $750 million to help fund the construction of roads and power plants.

ANGOLA received credit ratings from Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch Ratings that put it on par with Nigeria, Lebanon and Belarus, and paved the way for a planned sale of international bonds. The southern African nation’s creditworthiness was rated at B+ by S&P and Fitch, four levels below investment grade. Moody’s assigned an equivalent ranking of B1.

MONGOLIA plans to raise $500 million selling bonds in 2010 and the remainder of a planned $1.2 billion program will be sold according to market conditions, Batbayar Balgan, director general of the financial and economic policy department of Mongolia, said at a forum in Ulan Bator on June 16. The government scaled back its plans for global bond sales after Europe’s debt crisis drove up borrowing costs. Investment banks are advising Mongolia to issue debt with maturities of 5 years to 10 years, Finance Minister Sangajav Bayartsogt said in a Feb. 9 interview. The securities may yield 8 percent to 11 percent, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Catts in New York at sapnam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alan Goldstein at agoldstein5@bloomberg.net

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