In spite of the stock market's recent volatility, new leveraged loans continue to come to market, with at least $2 billion of new credits starting syndication this week and early next week.
Leveraged lenders also foresee a steady flow of deals through the remainder of the year that would keep the leveraged loan market on its record-breaking pace through the fourth quarter.
Indeed, lenders are bringing a host of deals to market that they expect to complete before the holiday season.
One expected to come to market Monday is a $550 million leveraged loan co-arranged by Chase Manhattan Corp. and Merrill Lynch & Co. for Caribiner International Inc., an international producer of meetings, events, and training programs.
The loan backs New York-based Caribiner's $247 million cash acquisition of London-based Visual Action Holdings PLC. It is only the second deal co- led by Chase and Merrill, according to a source familiar with the loan.
Chase is advising Caribiner on the acquisition and acting as administrative agent for the loan, with Merrill Lynch acting as syndication agent.
In a separate deal, BT Alex. Brown held a bank meeting Wednesday for its $600 million leveraged loan for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Rental Service Corp., the largest network for equipment rental in the United States.
The new credit is split between a $500 million, five-year revolver and a $100 million hybrid tranche. The hybrid is a seven-year term loan that features the same covenants as the revolver but is secured by a second lien and is subordinate to the revolver.
The hybrid tranche, priced at 250 basis points over the London interbank offered rate, also features two years of bond-like call protection.
Meanwhile, Bank of Nova Scotia is leading its first loan featuring a loan-bond hybrid tranche, making it the third lender after BT Alex. Brown and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette to use the structure.
The $335 million loan package launched last week funds the leveraged recapitalization of publisher Rand McNally & Co. by New York-based sponsor firm AEA Investors Corp. It features $235 million split among a revolving facility and term B and term C tranches.
Bank of Nova Scotia is the arranger and administrative agent on the deal, with Morgan Stanley as syndication agent and Smith Barney as the documentation agent.
The financing was originally planned to include a $100 million 144a high-yield private placement to be agented by Morgan Stanley, with Scotia Capital Markets and Smith Barney, according to a source close to the deal.
But that issue was replaced by a fourth loan facility, the $100 million "term S" tranche-a senior subordinated term loan.
The hybrid was a more attractive option for the borrower than the high- yield deal, said the source, because it is callable, it required no marketing road show, and could be completed in two weeks.
Market sources said the term S tranche, priced at 350 basis points over Libor, was well received by the market. The loan is expected to close today.