Filinvest floats $300M in 7-year offshore bonds

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MANILA, Philippines—The Gotianun-led conglomerate Filivest Development Corp. has debuted in the offshore bond market with a warmly received $300-million bond deal that marked a new low in terms of borrowing cost for a Philippine corporate issuer for this tenor.

FDC sold seven-year bonds at 4.25 percent per annum and priced the issuance at par.

“It was a landmark issuance especially since it was FDC’s inaugural bond issue in the international debt markets,” said Lauro Baja, managing director at UBS Philippines, which acted as the sole global coordinator.

UBS and HSBC acted as joint bookrunners for the debt issue, which generated an order book of $1.4 billion comprising 70 investors. “Bookbuild lasted for only eight hours,” Baja said.

Asia accounted for 92 percent of the debt deal while Europe accounted for 8 percent, Baja said.

“At 4.25 percent coupon, FDC was able to achieve the lowest coupon for a Philippine corporate issuer,” Baja said, noting that the initial guidance was at 4.5 percent but was eventually lowered after significant subscription.

Despite the uncertainty regarding the Cyprus bailout package, the transaction drew strong momentum at the open with orderbooks being oversubscribed within 30 minutes of announcement, said Wick Veloso, chief executive officer at HSBC Philippines.

“We congratulate the management team of FDC, one of country’s leading conglomerates, for a successful debut issuance in the offshore market,” Veloso said. “This is a testament to the confidence in FDC’s track record of growing into one of the Philippines’ largest and most respected business groups.”

FDC grew its net profit last year by about 10 percent to P4.06 billion on higher earnings from real estate, banking, hotel and sugar operations. FDC ended last year with P239.37 billion in balance sheet.

Its real estate operating units include publicly listed Filinvest Land Inc. for residential property development. It is also in commercial property development through Filinvest Alabang, Inc., Festival Supermall, Inc., Cyberzone Properties, Inc. and Filinvest Asia Corp.

Its involvement in banking and financial services is through East West Banking Corp. and FDC Forex Corp., while the sugar farming and milling businesses are handled by Pacific Sugar Holdings Corp., Davao Sugar Central Co. Inc., Cotabato Sugar Central Co. and High Yield Sugar Farms Corp.

In the hospitality business, Seascapes Resort Inc., Filarchipelago Hospitality Inc., and Filinvest Hotels Corp. are its operating units.

For power generation, it has subsidiaries Eco Renewable Energy Holdings, Inc., FDC Utilities, Inc., Cebu Pure Energy, Inc., Strong Field Gas Power Corporation and Strong Field Gas and Electric Corp.

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