Loan – Bond Relative Value

In our last post, we described how to compare the cost of a floating rate instrument, such as a loan, to the cost of a fixed rate instrument, such as a bond.  For one company, Jarden Corporation, we showed that the bond’s cost is 50 basis points higher than the loan’s cost.  Since both debt instruments were issued by the same borrower, shouldn’t they cost the same?   Corporate Finance 101 Whenever there is a difference in the cost or return of two financing instruments, corporate finance theory tells us to look to the risk differences between the two.  This applies if you are looking at it from the perspective of the issuer or the investor.  For this post, we will continue the Jarden example, comparing a loan and a bond for a non-investment grade issuer (note that the product terms, pricing, and risk characteristics for investment grade issuers are dramatically different).   Investor: Risk vs. Return As with Jarden, the yield on non-investment grade (i.e. “high yield”) bonds is typically higher than the yield on non-investment grade (i.e. “leveraged”) loans.  This is because high yield bonds are more risky to own than leveraged loans, for these reasons:   Priority: Loans to non-investment grade companies are typically senior and secured, while bonds to these same companies are typically subordinated and unsecured.  Thus, in a bankruptcy, the loans should get repaid before the bonds. Maturity and Amortization:  Corporate loans rarely come due beyond 6-7 years from issuance, whereas high yield bonds often mature in 10 years.  In addition, bonds typically have “bullet” maturities (i.e. all the principal comes due at...

Jarden Compares Loan and Bond Costs

Jarden Corporation (Ticker JAH) is a diversified consumer products company whose brands include First Alert, Holmes, Mr. Coffee, and Sunbeam.  On June 30, 2009, it had approximately $2.7 billion of debt outstanding, half of which was in the form of Term Loans due through 2012.  Management was eager to begin refinancing these term loans in order to gain additional covenant flexibility and extend maturities.  Over the next 7 months, it completed two transactions.   August 2009: “Amend and Extend”   In August 2009, the company extended the maturity of $600 million of Term B loans (“TLBs”) from January 2012 to January 2015 through the creation of a “Term B4” tranche.  This new tranche was priced at LIBOR + 3.25%.  The remaining $724 million of term loans remain due through 2012. Along with the TLB extension, the company extended the maturity of $100 million of its (unused) revolver from 2010 to 2012 and amended the covenants on its loan facilities to allow for additional securitization and other indebtedness. January 2010: Senior Subordinated Notes In January 2010, the company completed an offering of 7.5% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2020.  The offering consisted of two tranches: $275 million offered in the U.S. and EUR150 (approximately $217) offered in Europe. The company used a portion of the proceeds from this bond to repay a portion of its term loan, presumably those maturing through 2012. The U.S. tranche was priced at 99.139, for a yield of 7.625%, or a spread of 385 basis points over the 10-year treasury.   So which is cheaper? With LIBOR at 0.25%, the cost of the loan is 3.5%...