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corporate bonds

Blog_WB_2015 IG-Spread-Performance1

Investment grade credit spreads spinning wider

We recently blogged about the uninspiring performance of many fixed income asset classes in 2015. Investment grade (IG) corporate bonds certainly had a tough year as credit spreads trended wider, both in the USD and the EUR market. Taking a look at option-adjusted spread (OAS) levels, USD IG credit (+29 bps) marginally outperformed against EUR IG credit (+36 bps) in 2015. In both cases periods …

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15.12.15 SI blog1

Leverage ain’t always a shareholder’s best friend

The temptation to ‘juice-up’ shareholder returns with low yielding corporate debt has been too much to bear for many companies and their investors in recent years. This fad has been well documented and though it may not be a trend we creditors like to observe, we haven’t been entirely surprised to see it play out in 2015 given the seemingly large valuation disconnect between the cost of debt an…

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15.12.08 WB blog UK

Pharma merger mania: The good, the bad and the ugly

In our recent Chicago video we touched upon the subject of recent mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in North America having surpassed pre-crisis volumes. Though hard to quantify, it’s safe to assume that the M&A surge has been one of the main driving forces behind the widening of credit spreads in the USD investment grade (IG) corporate bond universe this year. Numerous IG companies have …

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BHP turns to the bond markets for help

BHP turns to the bond markets for help

It has been a rough ride for metal and mining giant BHP Billiton. Revenues have come under persistent pressure due to weakening commodity prices. Despite one of the strongest balance sheets in the sector, promises made to shareholders have proven tough to keep.

With these commitments in mind the company turned to a nervous bond market earlier this week for some $6.44bn equivalent of hybrid deb…

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Brazil is not Russia so don’t expect Brazilian bonds to deliver Russian returns

Brazil is not Russia so don’t expect Brazilian bonds to deliver Russian returns

Brazil has been facing the perfect storm since the re-election of Dilma Rousseff in October 2014 and asset prices in Latin America’s largest country have collapsed. Credit default swaps on Brazil 5-year sovereign debt in US dollar and hard-currency corporate bond spreads widened to as much as 545 bps and 938 bps respectively, as at the end of September 2015, which is higher than during the 2008…

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EUR IG non-financial bond issuance in 2015

The Yanks are coming: US firms are rushing to the EUR corporate bond market

Reverse Yankees, i.e., bonds issued by US entities in currencies other than USD, have become an integral part of the global investment grade (IG) corporate bond universe, particularly in the European IG space. For treasurers of US companies the issuance of EUR-denominated Reverse Yankees offers several advantages:

  1. In case a US firm reporting its results in USD has operations within the Eurozon…

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Blog-WB-IG-quality-spreads1

The cost of quality: spread differentials between IG credit rating bands

We have frequently written about investment grade (IG) credit spreads over the course of the past year. Today I’m going to dissect the IG universe further and take a look at quality spreads, i.e., the additional risk premium investors can earn when switching from one credit rating band into the next lower band.

The chart below shows how the differential in asset swap (ASW) spread between AA and…

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Covenant case study – after the good, the bad

We recently highlighted a bond covenant that benefited fixed income investors. After the good, this week we have seen the bad. In this case, a bond covenant may impact bondholders in a detrimental way. Both examples are evidence of how critical it is to have a thorough understanding of bond documentation ahead of investing in a bond.

Kuwait’s third largest bank, Burgan Bank, announced in a regu…

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How bond investors should assess the opportunities in the US high yield energy sector

U.S. high yield energy bonds have sold off recently, virtually reversing their Q1/Q2 rally. The main culprit is, again, oil prices.  The recent re-re pricing in oil has led to energy bonds trading at levels worse than the last time oil sold-off at the beginning of 2015.  In fact, the BAML U.S. high yield energy index this week reached its widest levels (in terms of spreads) since April 2009 at …

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2015-08 blog VJ

The fight for investors rights in the high yield market

The high yield primary market can be a battleground between issuers and investors to determine which covenants (the legal language that protects the right of bondholders) are included or excluded in the bond documentation. For investors, this can offer the opportunity to influence the structure of deals, and include valuable protections in the terms of the offering memorandum, which sets out th…

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