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Ashland Sells $2.3 Billion of Bonds to Repay Secured Obligations

Ashland Inc., the biggest producer of specialty paper-making chemicals, sold $2.3 billion of senior unsecured notes to pay back a portion of its secured loans.

Ashland issued $600 million of 3 percent debt due in 2016 that yields 260 basis points more than similar-maturity Treasuries, $650 million of 4.75 percent bonds maturing in 2022 with a 290 basis-point spread and $700 million of five-year bonds with a 3.875 percent coupon that pay 304 more than benchmarks, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The deal also included $350 million of 6.875 percent securities due 2043 that yield an extra 370 basis points, replacing a portion of debt the Covington, Kentucky-based company estimated would mature in 2025.

Proceeds from the sale, along with cash on hand, will be used to repay a “significant portion” of the outstanding loans in its senior secured credit facility, Ashland said yesterday in a statement. The company entered into a $3.9 billion credit facility in August 2011 with its purchase of International Specialty Products Inc., about $2.4 billion of which is outstanding in term loans due 2016 and 2018, Bloomberg data show.

The bonds were rated Ba1 by Moody’s Investors Service and BB by Standard & Poor’s.

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