On Thursday, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) sold $8 billion of bonds in a six-part offering. Bond yields were lower than previously offered because the Chinese company had received more than $57 billion of orders from investors looking to participate in its bond offering. However, ING Investment Management money manager Dorian Garay told Bloomberg that the premium that investors associate with Chinese firms was missing in Alibaba’s case.
Alibaba’s debts mostly carry fixed rates
Alibaba’s bond sale comes just two months after the online retailer raised$25 billion in NYSE listing in September. Alibaba said in a statement earlier this month that proceeds from the bond sale will be used to refinance its credit agreements that carry variable interest rates. The debts sold yesterday mostly carry fixed rates. The company is estimated to have $11 billion of loans.
It was the biggest dollar-denominated bond sale by an Asian company, surpassing the $6.5 billion bond offering by Bank of China last month. Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that underwriters reduced the premium by up to 27 basis points on Alibaba’s longest-dated bond. The Hangzhou-based company’s bonds have been assigned A1 rating by Moody’s and A+ by Standard & Poor’s.
Alibaba abandoned plans for 5-year floaters
Alibaba offered $2.25 billion of five-year notes at 2.5%, and another $2.25 billion 10-year notes at 3.6% interest rate. The five-year securities yield 95 basis points higher than the similar maturity U.S. treasuries, while 10-year notes have a relative yield of 128 basis points. The company also sold $1.5 billion of 7-year notes at 3.125%, $1 billion of three-year securities at 1.625% interest rate, and $700 million of 20-year bonds at 4.5%.
Further, the Chinese company offered $300 million of three-year bonds at floating rates. Sources said that the company pulled back on its plans to include five-year floaters. Citigroup, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and Deutsche Bank managed Alibaba’s bond offering.
Alibaba shares inched up 1.44% to $111.40 in pre-market trading Friday. Shares of the Chinese company have gained more than 65% since its IPO.