LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) - Global brewer SABMiller has completed a $3.5 billion loan refinancing, amending and extending an existing $2.5 billion syndicated loan and agreeing a new $1 billion syndicated facility.
The existing undrawn $2.5 billion financing, which was originally agreed in 2011 via coordinating banks Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Commerzbank, was due to mature in April 2018. The facility has been extended to May 2019 with the option of a further two one-year extension options, SABMiller said in its preliminary results on Thursday.
SABMiller has joined other highly-rated European corporates like Volkswagen and Anglo American in taking advantage of competitive loan market conditions to agree cut-price amend and extends, which allow companies to extend maturities and cut pricing on existing deals while only paying a small amendment fee rather than a new set of fees for a full refinancing.
BBB+/Baa1 rated SABMiller paid a margin of 60 basis points (bps) over Libor on the existing facility but average investment-grade pricing has fallen sharply since last year with Triple B companies pricing at around 35 bps, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.
SABMiller has also agreed a new $1 billion, five-year credit facility to replace an existing $500 million loan that was due to mature in September 2016. The new facility also includes two one-year extension options.
Editing by Christopher Mangham