UBS Reopens Market in Riskiest Bank Debt After Post-Brexit Lull

  • Sale of $1 billion of AT1 bonds is the first since June
  • Swiss bank taking advantage of decline in borrowing costs

UBS Group AG sold $1 billion of the riskiest type of bank debt in Europe’s first sale of the bonds since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

The Swiss bank issued the additional Tier 1 notes to yield 7.125 percent, according to a person familiar with the matter, who isn’t authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified. The notes are expected to be ranked BB+ by Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, its highest sub-investment grade, said the person.

The sale is the first in the $106 billion market for the junior bonds, which are the first to take losses in a crisis, after issuance stalled on concern the June 23 Brexit vote will throw the U.K. into recession, and as the EU carried out region-wide stress tests on banks. UBS is seeking to take advantage of investor demand for riskier securities as European Central Bank stimulus suppresses yields.

“If anyone was going to re-open the AT1 market, it was going to be UBS,” said Simon Adamson, an analyst at CreditSights Inc. in London. “It’s better positioned than a lot of the other banks and has quite a lot of AT1 issuance to do over the next few years.”

Officials at the Zurich-based bank didn’t immediately comment on the sale.

The company has the right to buy the debt back in August 2021, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

UBS reported second-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates last week and said it’s on track to cut costs by 2.1 billion Swiss francs ($2.2 billion) through 2017.

Borrowing costs on the riskiest bank bonds have fallen to 6.7 percent from 7.9 percent in February, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data.

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