Ryanair set to raise $1.5 billion from five-year bond sale

By Yoruk Bahceli

May 18 (Reuters) - Ryanair RYA.I will raise 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion) from a five-year bond sale later on Tuesday, memos from two lead managers seen by Reuters showed, as the company takes advantage of favourable terms to bolster its finances.

Ryanair on Monday posted a record annual loss for the year ending in March as a result of travel restrictions linked to the pandemic.

The company will price the bonds at 120 basis points over the mid-swap level, equivalent to a yield of around 0.98%, Reuters calculations found, from 150 basis points when the sale started earlier on Tuesday following demand of 5 billion euros, the memos showed.

It will be issued by the group's main airline Ryanair DAC.

As concerns persist about how successfully the pandemic is being controlled, European travel companies including EasyJet EZJ.L , TUI Cruises and IAG ICAG.L have sold bonds to add cash to their balance sheets or refinance debt.

Ryanair's group Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said on Monday the company has almost zero visibility for the rest of the year even though it saw a "dramatic spring-back in bookings" in recent weeks.

Ryanair will use the proceeds of the bond sale for general corporate purposes, an investor presentation seen by Reuters said.

The presentation highlighted that Ryanair also has an 850 million euro bond maturing this June and 600 million pounds ($851.52 million) of borrowing under the Bank of England's COVID Corporate Financing Facility maturing in March 2022.

Ryanair said on Monday it already had sufficient funds to repay the upcoming bond maturity, but the bond sale was opportunistic.

"We've now gone cash positive, having been previously been cash negative," O'Leary said on the results call.

"Nevertheless, we do see an opportunity there... capitalising on the very favourable recovery story that I think is now apparent, but also with the very favourable financing rates and terms that were available out there," he said.

Ryanair hired BNP Paribas, Citigroup and Commerzbank for the sale on Monday, a previous memo said. ($1 = 0.8192 euros) ($1 = 0.7046 pounds)
Reporting by Yoruk Bahceli; additional reporting by Conor Humphries in Dublin Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Barbara Lewis

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