Investors tendered only $37 million of bonds out of possible $450 million of Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico bonds to Cargill Financial Services Corp., an executive with the broker handling the deal said yesterday.
As a result, the less than "substantial" response to Cargill's tender offer increases the likelihood that Cargill will exercise its right to redeem the outstanding bonds, in whole or part, at the first call date in 1994, said Samuel B. Corliss Jr., managing director of municipal derivatives at Merrill Lynch & Co. Merrill Lynch is acting as broker on behalf of Cargill.
"It appears $37 million of bonds were offered at a price of $114.25 and will be purchased on Aug. 12," Mr. Corliss said.
In Jury, Cargill, the largest privately held company in the United States, offered to purchase the outstanding bonds of a $450 million government development bank offering sold in 1983. Its tender offer for the bonds expired Wednesday at 5 p.m. eastern standard time, after being extended by one week.
Originally, holders of about $88 million of the bonds offered to sell their securities to Cargill at prices ranging from $114.25 to $152.50. This included about $27 million of bonds to be sold at $114.25, Mr. Corliss said.
Last week, Cargill announced that it would pay a maximum price of $114.25 per $100 face value of the bonds, plus accrued interest, and extended the tender offer until this past Wednesday. That price is equal to the minimum offer price originally set for the tender.
The tender was extended to set a maximum price to be paid for the bonds and to allow holders who may have offered to sell bonds at a higher price the opportunity to reconsider and accept Cargill's maximum price.
According to the offer to bondholders, Cargill stated that if it did not receive a "substantial amount of bonds, they would be in an a position to call the bonds" at the first call date in 1994.
"It seems to me that it increases the likelihood that they'll be called in 1994," Mr. Corliss said, pointing to the limited response to the tender offer.
The government development bank's bonds carry a 10% coupon and were originally priced at par to mature in 2013.
Some investors and fund managers said they have balked at selling their bonds to Cargill because historically low yields now available on long-term municipals make it impossible to reinvest in bonds at comparable levels. In addition, most investors who purchased bonds at par do not want to pay the capital gains tax on the difference between the price they paid for the bonds and the price at which the bonds were sold to Cargill.
Some investors said they had speculated that recent gains in the municipal market since Cargill announced its offer would cause the firm to boost its price for the bonds. But the poor response to the original tender caused Cargill to maintain its $114.25 price. Mr. Corliss said. "People had the option to ask for any price they wanted."