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Rabobank Sells Europe’s First Debt Capital Notes Since April

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Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Rabobank Nederland, the Dutch lender that has the highest ratings of any private European bank, is selling the region’s first bank debt capital securities since April which also comply with new regulations.

Europe’s largest agricultural lender, which has the top ratings from Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s, is selling undated notes that it can call in May 2017 to bolster Tier 1 capital. The notes, which may be priced to yield in the mid-to-high 8 percent range, can be written down if Rabobank’s equity capital ratio sinks, or may sink, below 8 percent, according to the terms of the deal.

“Rabobank have previously used their position as a top-rated issuer to do deals other banks might be reluctant to go with just to show they can,” said Simon Adamson, an analyst at CreditSights Inc. in London. “ I’d expect European institutional interest to be somewhat limited.”

The Utrecht, Holland-based lender’s debt securities have tax advantages over equity as banks seek to find ways of increasing capital ratios to 9 percent, as European leaders demanded last week. The securities also have loss-absorbing features that allow the issuer to treat them as capital, a structure that regulators are insisting upon as they seek to ensure taxpayers don’t lose out in collapses.

The notes are denominated in dollars rather than euros, making them more appealing to Asian investors, Adamson said. They can’t be sold in the U.S.

The last bank to sell bonds that inflict losses if capital triggers are breached was Bank of Cyprus, which in April issued 890 million euros ($1.2 billion) of undated 6.5 percent bonds that turn into equity both if the shares rise and if its Tier 1 ratio falls below 5 percent.

Credit Suisse Group AG is managing the Rabobank deal with Nomura International Plc and Morgan Stanley.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Glover in London at johnglover@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Armstrong at parmstrong10@bloomberg.net

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