The Tennessee Valley Authority can erase more than $4 million in annual interests costs with proceeds from two competitive offerings totaling $1.25 billion, its chief financial officer said Friday.
The official, William F. Malec, said the deals appeared to be attracting interest from Wall Street.
"I think we've had calls from every major firm," he said.
"We'll bid on it," said Henry Yordan, a managing director at Merrill Lynch & Co. "At the right price it should go very well."
The agency expects to receive bids tomorrow for $750 million of seven-year bonds and on Thursday for $500 million of 10-year bonds, according to a TVA release.
The TVA, however, retains the right to withdraw its invitation for the bids. The agency can call the bonds at a premium after three years, the release says.
Last month, Mr. Malec said the TVA would probably wait until next spring to issue more debt, though favorable interest rates could entice it back to market earlier. The June employment report and ensuing decline in interest rates proved to be that lure, he said.
TVA will use the offerings' proceeds to refinance $1.2 billion of the agency's debt held by the Federal Financing Bank. Before Mr. Malec's April 1989 arrival, the agency had borrowed exclusively from the bank.
But TVA hasn't borrowed from the bank since selling two issues totaling $800 million that fall, Mr. Malec said. Financing through Wall Street has proven more efficient and cost-effective, Mr. Malec said. Currently, the bank holds about $7 billion of TVA debt, he said.
"TVA's refinancing issues since 1989 have totaled $10.5 billion and have reduced the agency's interest expense by $184 million annually," Mr. Malec said in the release. The proposed offerings "will allow us to refinance additional debt to further reduce our interest expense."
The planned issues follow the TVA's sale of $1 billion of 50-year bonds in April. The agency issued those bonds for new money, not refinancing, he said.
Both that offering and a $2 billion deal in January were "very well received," Mr. Malec said.
Susan Abbott, an associate director at Moody's Investors Service, said TVA, like others, is taking advantage of low interest rates.
"They are really doing what any prudent financial manager would do," she said.
In secondary trading Friday, high-grade corporate bonds prices fell 1/2 point in the long end Friday. One trader said an apparent strong move toward Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton for former supporters of Ross Perot, who withdrew from the race Thursday, may have caused the drop. High-yield bond prices rose 1/4 point.
Federal National Mortgage Association issued $150 million of 5.95% medium-term notes due 1997 at par. The notes were priced to yield 13 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Merrill Lynch & Co. managed the offering.
Nuevo Energy issued $75 million of senior subordinated notes due 2002. Noncallable for five years, the notes are callable at 104 in 1997, 102 in 1998, and at par in 1999. They were priced at 98.583 to yield 12.75%. Moody's rates the offering B3 and Standard & Poor's Corp. rates it B-minus. Paine Weber Inc. lead managed the offering.
Moody's has awarded a B2 rating to Bradless Inc.'s planned $100 million of senior subordinated note offering.
"The rating is based on the company's moderately high leverage, a modest equity base, substantial intangibles, and the potential for increased competition from national and other regional discount stores in the company's principal market areas," Moody's said in a release. "The rating is also reflective of Bradlees's good interest and cashflow coverage, its strong regional franchise, and the positive impact on recent operating results from its remodeling program," the release says.
Standard & Poor's assigned a B-plus rating to the issue, scheduled to mature in 2002. The agency said the company's implied senior rating is BB.
"The rating reflects Bradless's good regional presence, tempered by the risks associated with a moderately high level of financial leverage and the intensely competitive nature of the discount department store business," the agency said in a release.