Contact increases 30-year bond issue to a maximum $250 million

Contact Energy has confirmed it will issue 30-year bonds and has increased the maximum amount by $100 million to $250 million.

Friday, November 11th 2011, 4:55PM

by Jenny Ruth

Last week, the electricity retailer and generator said it was planning to issue $150 million of unsecured, subordinated capital banks and that it appointed Craigs Investment Partners as arranger and joint lead manager with the ANZ and ASB banks and Forsyth Barr and that Westpac was appointed co-manager.

It didn't provide any other details but today's statement shows, as expected, the bonds have been structured to count as 100% equity for ratings purposes for their first five years.

The bonds will mature on February 15, 2042 but are likely to be redeemed in February 2017 because they will then lose their 100% equity classification and because the annual coupon will increase by 0.25% at every five-year reset.

Contact and its advisers will set the coupon at an unspecified margin above the five-year swap rate on November 22, the day before the offer opens, but it says it will be at least 8%.

Contact says it expects ratings agency will assign the bonds a "BB-" rating compared with the company's own "BBB" rating.

The bonds will rank behind the $2.46 billion of borrowings, payables accruals Contact had at June 30 and behind future debt obligations in the event the company is liquidated or wound up but they will rank ahead of equity holders. Contact's total assets as June 30 were $5.64 billion and net equity was $3.24 billion.

The offer is set to close on December 15.

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