The new issue calendar remained heavy last week. After a largeQwest Communicationsoffering was placed at the end of the month, market professionals say there are rumblings of more high-risk names coming to market to refinance their outstanding debt, although none had been announced as of the end of the week.
Argosy Antes Up
Argosy Gaming, an owner and operator of riverboat casinos in the central U.S., issued $350 million in 7% senior subordinated notes of '14 (B3/B+). The bonds were priced at par. One trader said price talk for the refinancing deal, which was underwritten by Morgan Stanley, had initially been lower and the coupon range was 6 5/8% to 6 7/8%. He added the higher coupon reflects a sluggish high-yield market and the prospects for a full pipeline of new offerings. Tom Lapointe, high yield portfolio manager at Columbia Management in Boston notes, "Argosy is a good company, but with the market feeling soft and the calendar building it needed to come at 7% to get done."
Playtex Hangs In
Playtex Products sold $460 million of senior secured 8% notes due in'11 (B2/B) last Wednesday. The deal was reportedly one time oversubscribed and included interest from some short players and default swap traders, according to one hedge fund manager. The sale also affected its outstanding debt, which slipped a few points on the week. Proceeds from the offering will be used to refinance existing debt. Although the company cut its 2004 profit forecast and faces stiff competition from Procter & Gamble, the new debt still faired well after pricing by hanging around par, according to one portfolio manager. Credit Suisse First Boston acted as underwriter.