* Syndicated sale of 2017 bonds likely in coming days
* Ireland aiming to raise around 10 bln euros this year
* 2017 bond first sold in July, trading well below initial
By Padraic Halpin
DUBLIN, Jan 7 Ireland will offer around 2
billion euros ($2.6 billion) of bonds this week in its first
debt sale of 2013, reopening a 2017 bond first sold in July as
the country raises funds ahead of a planned exit from its
The country's debt agency said on Monday it planned a
syndicated tap of the 2017 bond, the initial 3.8 billion euro
sale of which marked Ireland's return to the long-dated market
following the November 2010 rescue package.
A source familiar with the deal said the sale would be sized
at around 2 billion euros.
"They're looking at approximately 2 billion and it's
expected to happen in the next couple of days," the source told
Reuters on Monday.
Ireland began to smooth the path towards exiting its EU/IMF
bailout last year, when it took advantage of a sharp fall in
bond yields by launching two bond swaps, a maiden amortising
bond issue and new long-term debt sales.
This sliced 10 billion euros off its post-bailout funding
needs and the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) has
said it wants to raise another 10 billion euros this year to
cover the country's 2014 funding requirements.
In July, it sold the 2017 paper at a yield of 5.9 percent
but Irish debt has performed strongly since, passing Spain to
trade closer to Italy, two struggling countries who have not
sought a sovereign bailout.
The 2017 bond traded at a yield of 3.25 percent before the
NTMA's announcement and rose to 3.35 percent, according to
Tradeweb data, as markets adjusted to the likelihood that
Ireland would have to give up around 10 basis points as is
typical with most new issues.
"Prior to entering the EU/IMF aid programme, the average
cost of bond funding was circa 4.7 percent, so issuing at a
yield significantly below this level is clearly extremely
positive for Ireland as it hopes to fully emerge from the
(bailout) programme by the end of the year," Dublin-based Glas
Securities said in a note.
The NTMA mandated Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland
, Danske Bank, Societe Generale and
Dublin-based Davy Stockbrokers as joint lead managers for the
Smaller euro zone states sometimes place bonds via a
syndicate of banks as doing so helps them to reach a broader
range of investors than through a traditional auction.
With Ireland's bailout scheduled to finish at the end of the
year and the NTMA hoping to return to regular monthly bond
auctions before then, bond dealers said a successful syndicated
issue would put them well ahead of target.
"I suspect that demand will be pretty high and maybe they
might go for higher (than 2 billion)," said Owen Callan, a
dealer at Danske, one of the lead managers.
"This would get 15 or 20 percent of fund raising out of the
way on week one which would be a nice way to start the year.
They're ahead of the curve and that's what they've been doing
over the last six or nine months."