Schaeffler succeeded in refinancing EUR3.5 billion in debt

Article by Andrew Christian, on May 8, 2014

Schaeffler had refinanced around EUR3.5 billion ($4.9 billion) worth of debt, including new bond issues of around EUR2 billion, the German supplier has disclosed in a statement. Schaeffler is marketing EUR2 billion of notes in euros and dollars and is trying to replace about EUR1.6 billion of loans.

The German supplier has trimmed its net debt over EUR10 billion following taking a majority stake in Continental in 2009 to EUR5.9 billion at the end of December 2013. Roman Gaiser at Pictet Asset Management, quipped to Bloomberg that Schaeffler has delivered and performed well over the last few years, so it only make sense for it to come to the market and extend maturities.

Moody's Investors Service said in a statement that Schaeffler is planning issue secured notes maturing in five, seven and eight years as well as five-year unsecured bonds through its Schaeffler Finance BV unit. The rating agency said that the secured notes will be rated Ba2 while the unsecured bonds will be rated B1.

Proceeds of issuance will be used redeem some of Schaeffler's existing notes. Bloomberg bond prices indicate that the yield on the suppliers EUR600 million of senior secured bonds issued in April 2013 is 3.2 percent, lower than the 4.25 percent figure at the time of their issue.

A source told Bloomberg that the German supplier also plans to use proceeds to pay an antitrust fine. Schaeffler is one of the five bearing makers that agreed in March to pay a total of EUR953.3 million to settle a probe by the European Commission into price fixing scandals.

A person privy with the refinancing told Bloomberg in April that the supplier is planning replace its dollar- and euro-denominated term loans paying 325 basis points and 375 basis points above benchmark rates with a new dollar- and euro-denominated six-year loan paying of 300 basis points and 325 basis points above margin.

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