Cades, the French social security debt financing agency, sold its largest and longest-dated bond to date on Wednesday in its first issue since taking on another €35bn ($43.1bn) of debt following the reform of the public health insurance system.
The 10-year €4bn bond, which pays a coupon of 4 per cent, was priced at 6 basis points above the comparable French government bond or flat on the interest swap rate. The issue was the largest from Cades to date and extended its maturity profile to 10 years.
The agency borrowed at the same rate as peers KfW and the European Investment Bank, which executive chairman Patrice Ract Madoux described as "very satisfying".
ABN Amro, Credit Suisse First Boston, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and SG CIB managed the sale.
The Triple A rated agency manages a total of €103.8bn of France's social security debt and has a funding programme of €35bn to do in the coming 12 months. Mr Madoux said the agency's next bond could be an inflation-linked issue.
Telecom Italia sold $3.5bn of bonds in three tranches in its first offering in the US since October last year.
The company sold $1.25bn of bonds maturing in January 2010, $1.25bn of 10-year bonds and $1bn of 30-year bonds.
Telecom Italia said the objective of the issue was to refinance debt that matures in the coming years and to diversify its investor base. The company last issued bonds in the dollar market in October 2003.
The company has about €1.2bn of bonds maturing next year, €6bn in 2006 and €4bn in 2007.
Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley lead-managed the sale.
In emerging markets, Venezuela sold $1.5bn of bonds with a 10-year maturity, part of which would be used to buy back outstanding debt. The South American republic priced the 2014 bond with a yield of 9.269 per cent, 520 basis points above the 10-year Treasury.
That compared with a yield of about 8.65 per cent for the 2013 issue. "When this deal was announced it offered about 70bp in extra yield for one additional year of risk," said Raphael Kassin at ABN Amro Asset Management. He said the price made it a good deal for investors, but it also helped push out the yield on other Venezuelan bonds.
Barclays Capital and Merrill Lynch were joint lead managers.
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