"Yield hogs" sniffing for higher yields than this week's U.S. Treasury refunding offers had four corporate morsels to choose from between yesterday and today -- including Sears Roebuck & Co.'s $600 million smorgasbord.
"In the week of a refunding you get deals that are specifically pitched as alternatives," Michael Bassett, vice president at Princeton, N.J.-based Stone & McCarthy Research said.
"But this is a particularly pronounced example," he noted.
Three of those four offerings totaling $1.15 billion were expected "ASAP," Mr. Bassett said, meaning they could be priced as early as yesterday. But by day's end yesterday, only one had been priced -- Georgia-Pacific Corp.'s $250 million offering. The fourth, New York State Electric & Gas' $150 million 30-year debentures offering, was scheduled for today, he said.
Today's low interest rates have created investor appetite for higher yields, Mr. Bassett said. Issuers seeking to complete deals by year-end may see now as a prime time to snare investors looking for higher yields, he added.
In this climate where "just about everybody" wants more yield than Treasuries offer, investors could pick from Sears' offering, Georgia-Pacific's deal, New York State Electric & Gas's deal, and Chase Manhattan Corp.'s $150 million offering.
Mr. Bassett noted that two of the deals -- Georgia Pacific and Chase -- have split ratings. New York State Electric's deal is rated BBB, he added.
Sear's three tranche deal consists of $200 million of three-year notes, $200 million of seven-year notes, and $200 million of 20-year debentures, according to a trader familiar with the deal.
Expected pricing on the three-year notes was 105 to 110 basis points over comparable Treasuries, while price talk on the seven-year notes was 120 to 125 basis points over. The debentures were expected to be priced in the 140 basis points are over 30-year Treasuries.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. is lead manager, with Dean Witter Reynolds Inc. and Morgan Stanley & Co. as co-managers. Moody's Investors Service rates the offering A2, while Standard & Poor's Corp. rates it A.
Georgia-Pacific issued $250 million of 9 7.8% bonds due 2021. The bonds were priced at 99.517 to yield 9.925% or 200 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Goldman Sachs lead managed the offering. Moody's rates the bonds Baa3, while Standard & Poor's rates them BB-plus.
Chase plans to offer $150 million of 10-year subordinated notes with Merrill Lynch as lead manager. The notes are expected to yield approximately 215 basis points over 10-year Treasuries. Moody's rates the offering Ba2, while Standard & Poor's rates it BBB.
Merrill Lynch is also lead manager of New York State Electric & Gas's offering, which is expected to yield 105 to 110 basis points over 30-year Treasuries. Moody's rates the deal Baa1, while Standard & Poor's rates it BBB-plus.
Bankers Trust NY Corp. also issued a $300 million five-year deal yesterday, but Mr. Bassett did not include those low-yielding notes in his "alternatives" category. The 7 1/4% notes priced at 99.672 to yield 7.329% or 60 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Lehman Brothers sole managed the offering. Moody's rates those notes A1, while Standard & Poor's rates them AA.
Yesterday's high-grade market was unchanged to off 1/4, traders said. The high-yield market saw quiet trading and finished the day unchanged.
In that market, Robert E. McWilliams, vice president of Rowan Companies Inc., would not comment on the expected coupon rate of his company's proposed $200 million senior note issue. But he sait it will be "a whole lot less" than the 13 3/4% the Texas company now pays on an outstanding high-yield debt issue.
Rowan plans to use proceeds from the issue to redeem $125 million of 13 3/4% senior notes due 1996.
Redeeming the issue will cost approximately $128 million. Rowan will use the remaining funds for general corporate purposes.
The company plans to begin the formal marketing phase for its deal on Nov. 25, but that date depends on how long the Securities and Exchange Commission takes to review the proposed offering.