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CAPITAL MARKETS

Deals of the year 2010: Wind Telecommunications €6.6 billion (senior secured bonds and loan facility)

While the sovereign crisis and bank capital regulatory uncertainty was curtailing issuance for everyone except top-tier borrowers, investors were still displaying an appetite for strong high-yield credits. Italian telecommunications provider Wind re-entered the market with a €6.6 billion refinancing that replaced debt put in place from its 2005 LBO. Credit Suisse acted as the lead left book runner on its €2.7 billion senior secured bonds, and joint global coordinator with Deutsche Bank on the €3.93 billion senior loan facilities.

Wind Telecommunications
Size: €6.6 billion (senior secured bonds and loan facility)
Date: November 18
Leads: Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank
Coupons: 7.375% and 7.25%

The company faced several headwinds. Despite entering a 20th successive quarter of revenue growth and the early repayment of a €336 million loan in January, Wind’s parent company, Weather Investments, part of the Orascom Group, had announced a planned merger with US-listed Russian telecom operator VimpelCom two weeks previously. "We had to do a bit of work with investors and lenders to focus them on the asset and say whatever happens upstairs you don’t care, you have a ring-fenced financing, it’s not really going to affect you,’’ says Karim Nasr, corporate finance officer at Weather Investments. Less than 10 days later Wind began its roadshow amid the Irish debt crisis. There was a limited amount of funding that it could get from within Italy. It had originally thought it could get demand of about €3 billion, two-thirds from Italian lenders, €500 million from banks outside Italy and about €400 million from credit and CLO funds, says Nasr.