ArcelorMittal Bondholders Largely Snub Buyback to Retain Yields

ArcelorMittal bondholders mostly rejected the opportunity to sell notes back to the world’s largest steelmaker, suggesting a lack of alternatives in low-yield credit markets.

Investors tendered less than half the bonds the company sought to buy, according to statements on Tuesday. They submitted 627 million euros ($711 million) of notes in a 1.5 billion euro tender and $438 million of securities in a $1.5 billion offer.

The reluctance to sell notes from a company expected to post a fifth straight annual loss shows how European Central Bank stimulus has distorted the region’s credit markets. Some investors are already paying to park cash because of negative interest rates, and options in the corporate-bond market will narrow further once the ECB starts buying investment-grade notes.

“It’s hard to source an attractive yield in this market,” said Mark Wade, head of industrials research at Rogge Global Partners Plc in London, which manages more than $30 billion. “You’ll get a better return from these bonds than from holding cash. It’s easier to stay invested.”

Steelmakers’ bonds have handed investors total returns of 18 percent this year, the best performance in the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global High Yield Index. The gauge has returned 5 percent on average.

ArcelorMittal offered to buy back 1 billion euros of 4.625 percent notes maturing in November 2017 at 108.65 percent of face value. It offered 108.25 percent for 500 million euros of 4.5 percent bonds due March 2018. For the dollar notes, the company paid $1,046.25 for every $1,000 tendered, excluding accrued interest.

The Luxembourg-based company may pare its net loss to $472 million this year from $7.9 billion last year, based on analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.