independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

ESB hopes to refinance €1.25bn loan on global market

THE ESB has gone to the market seeking to refinance €1.25bn of loans. It follows last month's successful issue of debt on the bond market.

The state-owned power company is now seeking to refinance two €750m corporate loans due to mature in 2014 and 2015, with the new €1.25bn debt package.

The planned new syndicated loan deal is being co-ordinated by RBS. It's expected to draw in 15 lenders and to close early next year.

"We are in discussions with our relationship banks with a view to renewing our main bank credit facility in early 2013," the company said in a statement yesterday. The new loan deal is the latest evidence of Irish borrowers re-engaging with the global markets.

In November the ESB issued €500m of seven-year bonds, and was inundated by offers from lenders willing to lend more than €6bn to the company.

Bord Gais, Bank of Ireland, AIB and the State also each issued new bonds within weeks of the ESB deal.

The new ESB loan is to replace loans arranged in September 2010, when BNP Paribas and Bank of America acted as agents for the deal.

With sentiment towards Ireland changing rapidly in the markets, the company is likely to push to lower its borrowing costs when it signs the new loans. Next year is set to be a busy one for the ESB, which has been ordered to sell €400m of power generation assets in 2013 and 2014 as part of the "New Era" privatisation programme.

In the privatisation space the electricity company will be competing with Bord Gais – also state owned and also due to bring its power generation assets to market next year.

Irish Independent

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