Junk-Rated Bonds May Offer `Equity-Like' Returns in 2011: New Issue Alert

High-yield bonds may be a good substitute for equities in 2011 as economic growth accelerates, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

High-yield, high-risk debt returns are expected to remain highly correlated to those in the stock market for a second year, wrote New-York-based JPMorgan’s Peter Acciavatti. High- yield, or junk, debt has returned 14.5 percent year-to-date on a total-return basis, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch High Yield Master II index. The S&P 500 index is up 15.1 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“We still believe high yield is an attractive way to play the upside of a continued economic recovery while also protecting against the downside of earnings and volatility surprises,” Acciavatti wrote in a Dec. 10 report. “With lower volatility and a higher position in the capital structure, many investors have recognized ‘equity-like’ returns can be achieved by including corporate credit in their portfolios as a replacement for equities,” he wrote.

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate last quarter, more than the government’s previous estimate of 2.5 percent and below the 2.8 percent median forecast from economists in a Bloomberg survey. The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, which is tied to consumer spending and excludes food and energy, rose at a 0.5 percent rate, the slowest pace since records began in 1959.

The extra yield investors demand to own high-yield bonds instead of Treasuries narrowed 5 basis points to 545 basis points yesterday, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch High Yield Master II index. Absolute yields on the debt fell 2 basis points to 7.85 percent, the index data show.

Tightening Spreads

JPMorgan expects the spread to tighten to 515 basis points at the end of 2011 as Treasury yields rise next year, Acciavatti wrote. He didn’t return a telephone call seeking comment.

Yields on the 10-year Treasury note, the market bellwether, surged to 3.35 percent, up 86 basis points since Nov. 4, the day after the Federal Reserve policy makers announced a plan to buy $600 billion in government debt in an effort to stimulate the economy.

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

Investment-grade corporate bond spreads narrowed 1 basis point to 168 basis points, while yields rose 2 basis points to 4.14 percent, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. Corporate Master Index.

There were no corporate bond sales in the U.S. yesterday, Bloomberg data show.

The following is a description of at least $675 million of pending sales of dollar-denominated bonds in the U.S.

Investment Grade

FIRST GULF BANK PJSC plans to sell five-year dollar- denominated bonds that may yield between 3.25 percent and 3.5 percent, said three people familiar with the transaction, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set. BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc and National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC are arranging meetings with investors, two people said on Nov. 1. The Abu Dhabi-based lender is rated A2 by Moody’s.

TRANSNET LTD., South Africa’s state-owned ports, rail and pipeline operator, said it may sell $1 billion worth of bonds in international markets to pay for expansion. Transnet has 35.2 billion rand ($5 billion) of debt outstanding.

High Yield

IFH PERU LTD. plans to add up to $100 million to its 8.625 percent 2019 bonds, according to two people with knowledge of the sale. Barclays Capital and IM Trust are managing the sale.

MDA LENDING SOLUTIONS, the information- and settlement- services provider to real estate lenders, may sell $175 million of senior subordinated notes to help pay for its leveraged buyout by TPG Capital, according to a Moody’s statement. The MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates Ltd. unit is also seeking $400 million of loans.

AFREN PLC, a U.K. oil and gas explorer focused on West Africa, hired Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and BNP Paribas SA to manage a sale of senior secured bonds in dollars, according to two people with knowledge of the sale. The company will meet bond investors in Europe and the U.S., said the people, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set.

CYRELA BRAZIL REALTY SA EMPREENDIMENTOS E PARTICIPACOES, Brazil’s biggest homebuilder, hired Banco do Brasil SA, Credit Suisse Group AG, Itau Unibanco Holding SA and Morgan Stanley to arrange bond investor meetings, according to a person familiar with the matter. Cyrela will meet with investors in Asia, Europe and the U.S., said the person, who declined to be identified because the conversations are private. S&P raised its rating on the company one step to BB on Sept. 30.

DELONG HOLDINGS LTD., a Singapore-based steel trader, hired Credit Suisse Group AG to help it organize meetings with investors ahead of an international sale of guaranteed senior notes. Money raised will be used to redeem 5 percent convertible bonds due 2012, to repay bank loans and for acquisitions relating to iron ore and other raw materials used by the steel industry, the company said in a statement to Singapore’s stock exchange. The dollar-denominated notes were assigned a provisional rating of B3 by Moody’s, the ratings company said in a note.

FLAKEBOARD CO., the Canadian producer of fiberboard and particleboard used to build furniture and countertops, plans to sell $225 million of senior secured notes maturing in 2017, S&P said in a statement. The ratings company grades the proposed U.S. dollar-denominated debt as B, according to the statement.

PT ENERGI MEGA PERSADA, Indonesia’s second-biggest listed oil company, hired Nomura Holdings Inc. to help it with a dollar bond sale, according to a person familiar with the matter who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set.

SI ORGANIZATION INC., the Lockheed Martin Corp. unit formerly known as Enterprise Integration Group, may sell $175 million of senior subordinated notes, according to S&P. Proceeds may be used with $340 million of bank debt and $370 million of new common stock to pay for its acquisition by Veritas Capital, S&P said.

Offerings in Pipeline

AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL GROUP, the insurer rescued by the U.S. government, is contemplating a new debt sale, a person familiar with the matter said. The firm hasn’t considered a timeline for when it might sell more bonds, said the person, who declined to be identified because the terms aren’t set. AIG sold $2 billion of bonds Dec. 1 in its first offering since it was rescued by the U.S. government in 2008.

RURAL ELECTRIFICATION CORP., India’s state-controlled lender to power projects, hired Credit Agricole CIB, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Standard Chartered Plc to sell $500 million of bonds. Rural Electrification aims to price 5.5-year notes to yield between 195 basis points and 200 basis points more than similar-maturity U.S. Treasuries Finance Director Hari Das Khunteta said in a telephone interview from New Delhi on Nov. 10.

PTT EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION PCL, Thailand’s only listed oil and gas explorer, plans to sell bonds denominated in U.S. dollars, according to a person familiar with the transaction. PTT Exploration hired Barclays Plc to manage the sale, said the person, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set. Barclays is arranging a U.S. dollar-denominated medium-term note program for the company, the person said.

PTA BANK, or Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank, hired HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Bank Group Ltd. to arrange bond investor meetings in Europe and Asia, according to two people with knowledge of the sale. The meetings will be held in Hong Kong, Singapore, Zurich, Geneva and London, said the people, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set. The company may sell dollar bonds after the meetings, the people said.

MAQUINARIA ESPECIALIZADA MXO TRUST, a special-purpose company expected to provide construction machinery services to Corporacion GEO SAB de CV, hired Banco Santander SA to arrange bond investor meetings, according to a person with knowledge of the sale. A dollar bond sale may follow the meetings, to be held in London, Boston, New York and Los Angeles, said the person, who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set.

CREDIT BANK OF MOSCOW plans to sell five-year dollar bonds, according to a person familiar with the transaction. The sale of Reg S securities is being arranged by Commerzbank AG, ING Groep NV and Raiffeisen Bank International, the banker said.

DOHA BANK QSC, Qatar’s third-largest bank, hired Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to manage a planned $500 million bond sale, its chief executive officer said. The offering, announced on the Qatar Exchange website, will be marketed to investors in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, Raghavan Seetharaman said in an Oct. 20 telephone interview.

BELARUS may sell debt in the U.S. and Asia, according to Finance Minister Andrei Kharkovets. “We will undoubtedly enter the Asian and the American markets,” Kharkovets said in an Oct. 15 interview in Moscow, declining to comment on the timing of possible sales.

GEORGIAN RAILWAY LLC, the former Soviet republic’s state- owned rail company, is preparing a bond roadshow in the U.S., Giorgi Gagnidze, the company’s financial director, said in comments broadcast on Rustavi-2 television.

AL BARAKA BANK EGYPT ESC, a unit of Bahrain-based Albaraka Banking Group, may sell dollar-denominated Islamic bonds in the second half of 2011, the bank’s chairman said Sept. 29. The bank hasn’t decided on the size of the bond, he said.

TURKIYE IS BANKASI AS hired JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, Standard Bank Plc and Standard Chartered to help find buyers for a planned bond sale during meetings in the U.S. and Europe. Isbank made the announcement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange after the market regulator approved a sale of 1.45 billion liras ($1.03 billion) of bonds by the bank. Isbank said the sale will be in dollars.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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: Alexandra Harris in New York at Aharris48@bloomberg.net.

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

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