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How Bayer reopened the Eurobond market

When Bayer's $200 million financing hit the Eurobond market in the second week of January it met a guarded welcome. The scarcity value of German corporate paper combined with the weight of lead manager Deutsche Bank seemed to ensure a smooth path for the issue. But was this the time, given the reluctance of investors, to spring such a deal? Apart from two $50 million issues in December the fixed rate dollar sector had effectively been closed to new borrowers for around four months. One thing is sure – without the attachment of warrants the market would have been unable to swallow it.

The decision was taken at a management board meeting of Bayer on January 9. Three days later telexes were on their way from Deutsche Bank inviting underwriting in $200 million of 10-year bonds in the name of Bayer International Finance NV, Curação. The coupon was set at 7¼% with an indicated par pricing, and each $1,000 bond would have warrants attached entitling the holder to subscribe for 13 shares of the Bayer parent company.

The chemical concern had been waiting offstage for some time. Bayer was considering early in 1978 how it would refinance a $125 million five-year rollover credit drawn down at that time and used in the acquisition of Miles Laboratories in the US.

The man responsible for Bayer's finances worldwide is 54-year-old Franz-Josef Weitkemper, who has held a seat on the management board since 1973. In that role he has been closely involved with Bayer's push into the US, of which the Miles purchase represents the latest step. Acquired through a public takeover bid at a total cost of around $260 million, Miles ranks second to Mobay Chemical Corporation as Bayer's largest production company in the US.

The cheapest way is always through an option loan
Franz-Josef Weitkemper, Bayer
Franz-Josef Weitkemper edited 760px.jpg

In common with Hoechst and BASF, its two main competitors in Germany, Bayer has been boosting its expenditure in the US as a means of diversifying its production base.

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