American Tower Issues $1.8 Billion of Asset-Backed Securities

American Tower Corp. sold $1.8 billion of bonds tied to wireless towers, according to a person familiar with the offering.

The company paid 115 basis points more than Treasuries on top-ranked debt maturing in 10 years, said the person, who asked not to be identified because terms aren’t public.

Companies have issued $39 billion of asset-backed securities linked to business and consumer lending this year, with auto debt accounting for about $19 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Issuance of the bonds is forecast to climb 7 percent to $180 billion in 2013, according to Wells Fargo & Co.

Sales of deals linked to unusual collateral like mobile phone towers are poised to climb as investors seek out riskier assets with the Federal Reserve holding its benchmark lending rate close to zero into a fifth year.

Top-ranked bonds linked to auto loans are yielding 32 basis points more than Treasuries, down from 63 basis points a year ago, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch index. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

There are about $8.1 billion in asset-backed securities linked to wireless towers outstanding, Barclays analysts led by Joe Astorina said in a Feb. 28 report. Yields on the debt range from about 1.5 percent to as much as 3.5 percent, according to Barclays.

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