Amid the quiet of the holiday season, Natwest Securities Inc. priced two of the junk bond market's four issues last week.
The investment banking arm of the United Kingdom's National Westminster Bank PLC, Natwest Securities priced a $200 million offering for Summerlin Resorts LP on Monday.
The two-part issue included $100 million of first-mortgage notes, which were priced at Libor plus 400, and $100 million in senior subordinated notes, which were priced to yield 13%.
Las Vegas-based Summerlin will use the proceeds of its issue to build a 572-room resort, including a luxury hotel, casino, and spa, about nine miles away from the Las Vegas strip. Construction is set to begin in April 1998 and be completed in April 1999.
Natwest also priced a $105 million offering for Brill Media Co. LLC, an owner of small market radio stations and newspapers based in Evansville, Ind. The senior notes were priced to yield 12%.
Natwest has been snapping up mandates in its first year as a junk underwriter, said Matt Gourlay, head of high-yield sales and trading. His team led 13 bond deals in 1997 and is gearing up for another aggressive year in 1998.
It already has six deals in the pipeline, he added.
"I can't tell you how pleased that I am that we've grown it so quickly," Mr. Gourlay said.
Two weeks ago Natwest priced a $150 million issue of senior secured notes for Star Choice Communications, a Canadian digital satellite television company. The deal was oversubscribed and priced to yield 13%.
The company was originally set to go to market through Merrill Lynch & Co. in November, but delayed plans citing "unfavorable market conditions."
Carl Vogel, chief executive officer of Star Choice, said Natwest "took a deal we had trouble getting focused in the market and got it oversubscribed."
"At Natwest, there was no question that we were a focused transaction for them, and they did a great job," Mr. Vogel added.
Also Monday BT Alex. Brown Inc. priced a $100 million offering for Color Spot Nurseries Inc., a Pleasant Hill, Calif.-based plant wholesaler. The issue was bumped up from the $85 million originally planned because of hefty demand. The company filed in October to raise $50 million in an initial public offering, to be led by BT Alex. Brown.
On Tuesday Jefferies & Co. led a $205 million offering for Fitzgeralds Gaming, a casino and hotel based in Las Vegas. Jefferies upsized the deal, originally set for $200 million. The bonds were priced to yield 12.5%.