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Junk-Bond Issuers Out In Force In US

By Katy Burne Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- A rash of lower-rated companies stepped up to borrow money Friday, after the U.S. October jobs data proved solid. A trio of non-investment grade, or junk, debt issuers--two of them in the health-care industry--disclosed deals worth $2.75 billion, according to a person familiar with the pending transactions. Health-care facilities operator Tenet Healthcare Corp. (THC) plans to sell $750 million of seven-year senior secured notes to buy back existing debt bearing interest at 9% through a tender offer, the person said. The Tenet debt--rated B1 by Moody's Investors Service and BB-minus by Standard & Poor's--is expected to price later in Friday's session via Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Scotia Capital, CRT Capital and Morgan Stanley. Also in the market is community-hospital operator Health Management Associates Inc. (HMA), which is selling $1 billion in eight-year senior notes to refinance existing senior secured debt, and chemical company LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (LYB), with a $1 billion deal to help fund a special dividend of up to $2.6 billion. The HMA transaction, led by Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo, Barclays Capital, Citigroup, SunTrust, Royal Bank of Scotland, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, is set to price early next week. Moody's rated the bonds B3, and S&P rated them B-minus. It follows the Naples, Fla.-based company's disclosure earlier in the week of plans to sign a new $500 million revolving-credit facility, and enter into $2.2 billion of loans to pay down outstanding debt and for general corporate purposes. LyondellBasell's deal, led by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche and UBS, is expected to price later in Friday's session. -By Katy Burne, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3084; [email protected]

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