Big manufacturers shore up financial defences

Major manufacturers BlueScope and CSL are among those companies which have moved to shore up their financial defences by securing new debt facilities.

The two companies announced yesterday they had raised new debt and extended payment periods to carry them well past any likely end-date for the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.

Biotechnology giant CSL, at various times this year the most valuable company on the Australian stock exchange, announced a new US$750 million debt facility in a private placement with maturities of between seven and 15 years.

The placement has a weighted average interest rate of 2.68 per cent and an average life of 11.5 years.

CSL chief financial officer David Lamont said the debt placement was over-subscribed by investors.

Lamont said: “The US private placement market continues to provide CSL with good flexibility in terms of maturities and we are grateful for the ongoing support of this important debt market.”

Meanwhile BlueScope reinforced its liquidity position by lifting the size of its syndicated revolving bank facility to $1.2 billion.

The company’s 10 syndicate banks extended its two existing $400 million facilities by two years to 2023 and 2024, and agreed to a new $405 million facility maturing in May, 2022.

BlueScope chief financial officer Tania Archibald said the company’s strong financial position had allowed further improvement to its core funding lines.

“The enhancements deliver a demonstrably strong liquidity buffer to withstand a wide range of economic and market scenarios.”

BlueScope has a strong focus on improving its balance sheet and has zero net debt and significant cash on hand.

Picture: BlueScope

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