Fuji note issue taken up in hours

Sean Kennedy

STRONG demand from lenders helped wrap up Fuji Bank's HK$600 million five-year floating rate certificate of deposit (FRCD) in hours yesterday instead of the three days expected.

Shunsuke Amanai, senior vice-president and head of new markets group with deal arranger Fuji International Finance, said investor appetite was so strong that Fuji Finance had to scale back allocations on the FRCD, which carried a coupon of 37.5 basis points over the six-month Hong Kong interbank offered rate (HIBOR).

'We finished the syndication within 24 hours and we had some prime institutions joining the transaction from all over the world.' Initially, Fuji had some apprehensions about the pricing, Mr Amanai said. It offered investors an all-in yield of 45 basis points for the five-year deal.

However, strong investor interest in both floating-rate notes (FRNs) and FRCDs appeared to underpin the deal.

Mr Amanai said Westpac Finance Asia joined the deal as a lead manager and seven joined as managers. Fuji Finance was allocated HK$290 million of the deal and Westpac $100 million.

The managers were allocated $30 million instead of the original $50 million they were offered and comprised Banque Brussels Lambert Singapore, Generale Belgian Bank, Den Danske Bank Aktieselskab Hong Kong, Goldman Sachs Asia, Oakreed Financial Services, Peregrine Fixed Income and SocGen Asia.

Five banks joined the Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) mammoth US$1.73 billion FRN launched last week in London.

They were Fuji Finance, LTCB Asia, Mitsubishi Finance (Hong Kong), WestLb and CEF Capital, which is underwriting US$35 million of the deal. The others are underwriting $100 million.

After allowing for Paribas Asia's $109 million, HIT's parent Hutchison Whampoa was left to soak up just under US$1.2 billion of the deal, slightly less than the 70 per cent it was expected to take up.

One European bank in Hong Kong said it rejected the deal because of its long (10-year) maturity and because it felt the structure was unnecessarily complex.

Asian credits newsletter basis point reported that fees to the market ranged from 17.5 basis points to 40; co-arrangers were paid 40 for US$21 million to $25 million, lead managers 32.5 for $16 million to $20 million, senior managers 25 for $11 million to $15 million and managers 17.5 for $6 million to $10 million.

With HIT's deal dominating the market, CITIC Pacific's US$200 million three-year FRN had yet to be launched, a spokesman for deal arranger HSBC Markets said.

It was expected towards the end of the month. The coupon would be 0.5 percentage point over the six-month London interbank offered rate , market sources said.