More than $2 billion of new issues poured into the corporate bond market Friday following the 30-year Treasury bond's post-auction plunge to 7.85%.
"Yeah, it's a flood," one analyst said. "Every time you turn around there's more."
"People have hit their bogeys," a second analyst added, explaining that rates had sunk to where many issuers felt it did not make sense to wait anymore.
"It's a pretty active day, especially for a Friday," one underwriter said.
New straight corporate debt issuance has topped the $2 billion mark six times this year, excluding Friday, according to Joe Miller, an associate at Securities Data Co. The last time was May 2, he noted.
James River Co. came to market with a $400 million, two-part offering through Salomon Brothers Inc. The $200 million 10-year portion carrying an 8.375% coupon was priced at 99.50 to yield 8.45% or 104 basis points over comparable Treasuries.
The $200 million 30-year piece carrying a 9.250% coupon was priced at par to yield 137.5 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's Investors Service rates the notes and debentures Baal, while Standard & Poor's Corp. rates them BBB-plus.
PNPP II Funding Corp., the issuing company for Ohio Edison Co., issued $380.1 million of collateralized lease bonds. The three-tranche deal's A tranche consisted of $13.1 million of bonds priced at par to yield 8.07% or 100 basis points over seven-year Treasuries. The bonds have a nine-year final, 7.1-year average life.
The $122 million B tranche was priced at par to yield 8.51% or 110 basis points over 10-year Treasuries. The bonds have a 15-year final, 10-year average life. The $245 million C tranche was priced at par to yield 9.12% or 125 basis points over 30-year Treasuries. The bonds have a 25-year final, 20.1-year average life. First Boston Corp., lead managed the offering.
Moody's rates the offering Baa3, while Standard & Poor's rates it BBB-minus.
Boeing Co.'s $350 million two-part offering, meanwhile, had been increased from $300 million earlier. Tranche A consisted of $175 million of 8.10% bonds due 2006. The noncallable bonds were priced at 99.827 to yield 8.12% or 70 basis points over 10-year Treasuries. Tranche B consisted of $175 million of 8.625% bonds priced at 98.835 to yield 8.73% or 85 basis points over 30-year Treasuries. Both tranches had been increased from $150 million each earlier. First Boston lead managed the offering.
Moody's rates the offering Aa3, while Standard & Poor's rates it AA.
Shell Oil Co. issued $250 million of 6.125% notes due 1994. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.90 to yield 6.162% or 20 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Both Moody's and Standard & Poor's assigned triple-A ratings. Goldman, Sachs & Co. won competitive bidding to underwrite the offering.
The Williams Companies $200 million two-part offering consisted of $100 million of seven-year notes and $100 million of 30-year bonds. The 8.250% noncallable notes were priced at 99.581 to yield 8.33% or 125 basis points over comparable Treasuries. The 9.375% noncallable bonds were priced at 99.649% to yield 9.41% or 153 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Baa3, while Standard & Poor's rates it BBB. Lehman Brothers lead managed the offering.
Seagram Co. Ltd. issued $200 million of 8.350% debentures due 2006. The debentures were priced to yield 95 basis points over 10-year Treasuries. Moody's Investors Service rates the notes A2, while Standard & Poor's rates them A. Goldman sole managed the offering.
ITT Corp. issued $125 million of 7.250% notes due 1996. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.505 to yield 7.37% or 75 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rate the bonds A2, while Standard & Poor's rates them A-plus. Lazard Freres & Co. won competitive bidding to underwrite the offering.
The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. issued $100 million of notes due 1997. Callable after the first year, the notes were priced at par to yield 7.03% or 18 basis points versus the average of five-and-seven-year Treasuries. Merrill Lynch & Co. sole managed the offering.
The high-grade market was unchanged, while the high-yield market saw light secondary-market activity Friday and finished up about 1/8 to 1/4 point.
In rating actions Friday, Standard & Poor's placed the long-term debt and commercial paper ratings of General Motors Corp. and some related entities on CreditWatch for a possible downgrade. The agency also lowered General Motors' preferred and preference stock ratings to A-minus from A. Standard & Poor's also placed those ratings on CreditWatch for a possible downgrade.
The agency affirmed Ford Motor Co. and related entities ratings, but adjusted the long-term debt and preferred stock outlook to negative from stable. Consolidated debt outstanding totals about $90 billion at General Motors and $110 billion at Ford.
"Earnings performance by GM in 1991 has been far worse than was assumed by S&P in February, when its ratings were downgraded [senior debt to A from AA-minus]. Of particular concern, losses in North America have reached unprecedented levels," according to a Standard & Poor's release. "Although this stems largely from persisting depressed automotive demand and unrelenting price competition, GM's progress in improving its operating efficiency has been disappointing pointing, raising the specter that wrenching new cost-cutting initiatives will be necessary."
Also Friday, Standard & Poor's placed the CCC-plus rating on Calmar Spraying Systems Inc.'s $150 million of subordinated discounted debentures on CreditWatch for a possible upgrade. The listing follows the firm's announcement of a refinancing plant, according to a Standard & Poor's release.
"Calmar Spraying System has already received an approximately $34 million equity infusion, and under the proposal will market a private placement that would eliminate bank debt," the release said. "This refinancing, if fully implemented, would improve the financial flexibility of this manufacturer of pump sprayers and dispensers, and alleviate pressure imposed by a heavy bank maturity schedule."
The agency added, however, that the company's debt levels remain high and its cash interest coverage continues to be thin, so any upgrade would be modest.
In other news, the Asset Backed Securities Group will today announce a product to provide valuations for adjustable rate mortgage securities.
Offered by ABSG's Trepp Pricing Serivce, the ARMS Valuation Service was designed in response to strong secondary market demand for "a reliable, independent service providing accurate and timely ARMs valuation coverage," Joseph Melillo, ABSG's chief operating officer, said.
"It's a first-of-its-kind product," a spokesman for the service said.