NEW YORK, May 12 (Reuters) - Four US companies, including consumer goods company Spectrum Brands Inc, launched ‘add-on’ loans this week to boost the size of existing facilities as lenders compete to offer additional debt to familiar names amid a lack of supply in 2017 so far.
Pool and spa products maker KIK Custom Products, enterprise software firm Aptean Inc and veterinary services provider National Veterinary Associates also chose to increase their loans with bolt-on deals as investor appetite continues to outstrip dealflow.
Companies are securing add-on loans where possible to give them greater financial flexibility and are also paying down debt under revolving credits to give more firepower for future acquisitions or other purposes.
“Some of it is acquisition-related. I’m sure there are corporate boards that are saying the Fed’s going to raise (rates) three more times so we should raise money now. The market conditions are so good right now that they can,” a senior banker said.
KIK Custom Products is raising a US$200m add-on, US$90m of which will be used to finance a current acquisition. The rest will be added to the company’s balance sheet or used to pay down its revolving credit facility.
National Veterinary Associates is also financing an acquisition with an additional US$150m term loan, which includes a US$75m delayed-draw component. Aptean is raising an extra US$100m for general corporate purposes, including the ability to repay revolving credit debt and acquisitions.
Investor demand was strong enough to allow Aptean to double the size of its offering and for all three issuers to move up the deadlines on their deals this week. Spectrum Brands’ US$250m add-on was completed in just one day. Spectrum has earmarked the proceeds to pay down revolving credit borrowings and add cash to the balance sheet.
Borrowers’ ability to raise additional financing without a specific purpose is typically a sign of benign market conditions fueled by excess demand as investors seek yield and a way to hedge against higher interest rates.
Although leveraged M&A activity is picking up with around US$20bn of new deals announced this week, activity has otherwise been muted this year other than refinancing as demand for US leveraged loans has soared.
This week saw the 26th consecutive week of inflows into loan funds. Collateralized Loan Obligation (CLO) funds are also buying and demand for US floating rate assets is increasing abroad.
“We’ve seen new Asian accounts enter U.S. domestic sectors in size and it’s changed the dynamics,” said a CLO investor. “It’s just becoming a more competitive environment when looking for investment opportunities.”
Companies are likely to be able to continue to raise money easily, especially issuers with existing loans that have a strong historical track record which offers lenders comfort and familiarity, as strong liquidity continues to offer prime borrowing conditions.
“From a new issue perspective, this is as good as it gets,” the banker said.
Reporting by Jonathan Schwarzberg; Editing By Tessa Walsh