APA Gets A$1.25 Billion in Third-Biggest Australia Loan of 2014

APA Group, whose pipelines deliver about half of Australia’s natural gas, syndicated A$1.25 billion ($1.18 billion) of new loans with 16 banks to refinance some of its existing debt.

The Sydney-based company agreed three loans with foreign and domestic lenders, replacing two that were due to expire this year and next, according to a regulatory statement today. The deal is the third-largest syndicated facility in Australia this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

APA, which last week increased earnings guidance for this financial year to as much as A$750 million from A$730 million to A$740 million, bid for Australian natural gas distributor Envestra Ltd. in May, in a rival offer to one by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong Group. Adelaide-based Envestra recommended Cheung Kong’s offer on May 30.

APA’s new loans comprise one A$400 million tranche and two A$425 million facilities, maturing in September 2016, 2017 and 2019 respectively, according to the statement. The company has no further refinancing obligations until September 2015, it said.

The biggest loan in Australia this year backed the development of billionaire Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill iron ore mine. That $7.2 billion debt package was a record for Australian mining, Bloomberg-compiled data show.

Syndicated loans in Australia total $35.9 billion since Dec. 31 compared with $30.9 billion the same period of 2013, the data show. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. is the top-ranked arranger, with an 18.1 percent market share, followed by Westpac Banking Corp., National Australia Bank Ltd. and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

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