Bank of America is marketing two thinly priced refinancings totaling $2.75 billion for investment-grade clients Tyson Foods, the Arkansas poultry processor, and MCI Communications Corp.
Pressure on pricing continues to be-devil the loan market. Borrowers of all stripes, from investment to speculative grade, have benefited from the situation.
Both companies have senior debt ratings of A-minus from Standard & Poor's Corp., and the bank deals are similarly priced.
In the case of Tyson, the senior rating from S&P is "implied" because the company has not actually issued any rated senior debt. S&P considers Tyson's rating outlook to be stable, while MCI's is listed as positive.
Tyson's refinancing consists of two parts - a $500 million, 364-day facility, and a $1-billion, five-year revolver.
MCI's new $1.25-billion deal is structured as a five-year revolver.
Tyson will pay an annual facility fee of 7 basis points on the unused portion of the 364-day line, and 10 basis points on the five-year revolver.Deal at a GlanceBorrower: Tyson FoodsAmount: $1.5 billionAgent: Bank of AmericaPurpose: RefinancingStructure: * $500 million 364-day revolver * $1 billion 5-year revolver
MCI will pay an annual facility fee of 10 basis points on the unused portion of its five-year revolver.
Both credits are backup lines for the issuance of commercial paper, so no usage is expected.
The new MCI credit was officially unveiled at a bank meeting Monday in Washington, D.C., for prospective syndicate members.
In refinancing, MCI is taking advantage of the favorable borrowing environment in the loan market, obtaining both lower pricing and a longer maturity on its credit line.
Tyson and Bank of America, meanwhile, decided to forgo a formal bank meeting as a way of launching the credit. Term sheets were distributed this week to nine banks that are coagents on an existing $340 million syndicated credit for Tyson.
Each of the nine banks has been asked to commit $125 million. The deadline for commitments at the coagent level is May 27.
The new credit will consolidate the $340 million facility and various bilateral credit lines.
Tyson, the nation's largest poultry processor, is in the midst of a hostile takeover offer for WLR Foods. In 1989, it acquired Holly Farms Corp. in a deal that was backed by financing led by Bank of America.
The company has been swept up in the controversy surrounding President and Mrs. Clinton's financial affairs. Tyson attorney James Blair guided Hillary Clinton's now famous foray into commodity trading more than a decade ago, when her husband was governor of Arkansas.