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Covered bonds: A final-quarter rush

The market has coped well with debut deals from Sweden, the UK, Norway and Portugal; more are imminent.

As the final quarter of 2006 got under way the opinion in most parts of the debt capital raising world was that market activity would slow during the final few weeks of the year. The clear exception is the covered bond sector, where new names and new jurisdictions are providing a last minute spurt of activity.

New names are always more exciting for investors than frequent issuers; normally debut issuers provide diversity as well as the opportunity to pick up extra yield. But extremely buoyant conditions are supporting inaugural deals in the covered bond sector right now.

“These guys are like London buses. The covered investors have been waiting for the Swedish bus to come along for nearly two years since the legislation has been in place and now two have come along at once!” says Peter Mason, director at Citigroup, which structured Swedish Covered Bond Corporation (SCBC), and brought the deal alongside Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.

The first Swedish jumbo for Nordea Hypotek priced at mid-swaps less four basis points for a €1.25 billion five-year bond via ABN Amro, HSBC, HVB and Nordea – a minimal new issue premium if at all.

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