Acciona launches SSD as Italian and Spanish talk intensifies

Spanish infrastructure and renewable energy company Acciona has returned to the Schuldschein market with a €150m-minimum triple tranche transaction. As lenders begin to loosen lines to Italy and Spain, arrangers said there may be more borrowers from those countries to come.

  • By Silas Brown
  • 28 May 2019
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Six arrangers, BayernLB, BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, Erste Group, HSBCand UniCredit, are managing the transaction, with UniCredit acting as first lender and paying agent. Though it is rare to have as many as six arrangers on a transaction, there have been examples in the past few years such as deals for Trans Austria Gasleitung and Steinhoff.

The arrangers for Acciona are offering four, five and a half and seven year fixed and floating rate paper, with spread ranges of 120bp-140bp, 150bp-170bp and 180bp-200bp over six month Euribor or mid-swaps.

There will be investor calls on June 4, and order books will close on July 1. Acciona will use the financing to fund green projects, accredited by Sustainalytics.

"It's a great credit and a repeat issuer," said one investor. "It will get the desired amount, which I guess is around €200m."

Spain and Italy? 

The Schuldschein market seldom sees transactions from Italy and Spain, which is surprising given their regional proximity, and number of implied investment grade borrowers located there.

“Investors used to have issues with country risk when it came to Italy and Spain — that’s why the market focused on the Nordic region,” said one head of Schuldscheine. “But these issues seem to be subsiding and our pipeline is filling up from both countries.”

From Italy, standout transactions last year were Pirelli and Buzzi Unicem, while from Spain Acciona’s previous issuance in 2016 is often referenced.  

However, arrangers are looking at these regions with greater interest.

"Expect issuers from Italy and Spain to come soon," said another arranger. "As bond markets widen, and investors become more accustomed, borrowers from those regions will start to enter."

Another said that three or four Spanish names could issue before the end of the year.

"Spain's economy is getting much better, and that's also somewhat true of Italy," he said. "Investors do pay attention to this and if there are good corporates from those countries willing to diversify their investor base, the market will give them a good hearing." 

Spanish curveball

However, Acciona is not the only Spanish company to have entered the market. Market participants were somewhat surprised when Sacyr, a Spanish construction firm headquartered in Madrid, launched an inaugural €50m Schuldschein transaction.

NordLB and a hitherto unknown Schuldschein arranger, Spanish boutique BEKA Finance, are arranging the three, five and seven year tenors, and offering investors spread ranges of 280bp-330bp, 330bp-350bp and 355bp-375bp.

“You can even see by how much higher Sacyr’s spreads are compared with every other Schuldschein deals this year to see how weird this is for the market,” said one Schuldschein banker from a rival bank. “They must know of a few investors prepared to take this, but I don’t know who they’d be.”

  • By Silas Brown
  • 28 May 2019

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5 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 18,346.43 72 5.00%