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LevFinLevFin Leveraged Loans

UPC and Belron bring €1bn-plus loans as multi-currency leveraged deals surge


UPC Holding, the telecoms company owned by Liberty Global, and UK car glass specialist Belron announced multi-currency term loan offerings on Tuesday.

Following last week’s €3.8bn-equivalent of euro and dollar loans from French telecoms firms Altice and its subsidiary SFR, the list of credits bringing deals of over €1bn in several currencies is growing.

On Tuesday, UPC, which was originally Dutch but now operates mainly in central and eastern Europe, began marketing a $1.6bn 8.25 year term loan 'AS' and a €500m nine year term loan 'AS'. Both tranches have expected ratings of Ba3/BB-/BB-. Proceeds will be used to refinance an old $2.15bn term loan 'AP' due April 2025.

JP Morgan is leading the euro tranche, which is offered at 99.75, with a margin of 275bp over Euribor.

Credit Suisse is leading the dollars. Other mandated lead arrangers are Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Scotia and Société Générale.

“It’s the product of choice for issuers and investors,” said a head of leveraged finance at one of the bookrunners about the leveraged loan market. “For borrowers, leveraged loans have excellent pricing, and then you can see loans are attracting many different type of buyers, from hedge funds to CLOs, to institutional investors, to high yield funds opening pockets for floating rate paper.”

A second leveraged finance banker said more large leveraged loan deals were in the works, but they could be scheduled for next year because there was no rush. There is little fear of something occurring suddenly that could close the market for the next six months.

Belron divi raise

Belron, the UK-based vehicle glass repair firm, is not hanging about, however. It began offering €1.3bn-equivalent of seven year cov-lite term loans ‘B’ also on Tuesday. Some €800m of the deal should be in dollars, said one of the bookrunners.

JP Morgan is leading the euros, Bank of America Merrill Lynch the dollars. The deal includes a €200m six year revolving credit facility.

“The loan market is just really busy,” said an investor in London. “Pricings might become more interesting [to investors] than before September, but [buyers] must stay focused and check the covenants.”

This fund manager said dividends and potential incremental debt terms would raise flags as reasons for concern and could cause investors to stay away from a deal.

Belron plans to repay old US private placement facilities with the new loans, and also to fund a €450m dividend to its owner, D’Ieteren, the Belgian car sales and windscreens group.

After the transaction, Belron's average net debt would jump from 2.56 times its Ebitda to 4.25 times, according to a company statement on Tuesday.