Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch (LODH), an international asset management firm based in Geneva, which manages E2 billion in European corporate credit, will sell its positions in lower-rated telecoms and buy bank debt in lower-rated financials in the coming weeks.
Rodrigo Araya, v.p. and credit market analyst/portfolio manager based in Amsterdam, say spreads have tightened in lower-rated telecoms such as France Telecom, Deutsche Telekom and Telecom Italia/Olivetti, while he still sees value in lower-rated financials. Telecom spreads are at roughly 125 basis points over EURIBOR and Araya says he won't be waiting much longer to sell.
LODH has been overweight telecoms since January. The issues have been steadily tightening in response to the companies becoming increasingly de-leveraged. Araya says he will be selling his 10-year positions, which have become the most expensive to hold as the spread difference between lower- and higher-rated telecoms has decreased.
"Financials will be the name of the game after the telco play," says Araya. He is looking at buying tier-one paper in financial names that "have a bit of story, where credit spreads could tighten a little more." He named Abbey National, IntesaBCI, Monte Paschi Dei Siena as a few of the names he is considering. He is also eyeing some of the downtrodden German banks. Araya notes that Italian banks widen when there is a scare in the market and says Intesa is an improving name.
LODH's primary corporate credit benchmark is the Salomon Smith Barney Non-EGBI Euro Big. It also uses the Merrill Lynch non-sovereign index.