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Baxter Leads Another Busy Day for U.S. Corporate Bond Issuance

By Mike Cherney Highly rated companies are seeking to borrow at least $2.8 billion on Wednesday, adding to the more than $14 billion in investment-grade bonds sold earlier this week. Leading the day so far is health-care company Baxter International Inc. (BAX), with a two-part $750 million sale, offering 10- and 30-year maturities. The company will use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including capital expenditures to "support longer-term growth of our plasma-based treatments," according to a bond prospectus. Insurer MetLife Inc. (MET), soft drink maker PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) and pipeline operator Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (KMP) plan to borrow $500 million each, with maturities ranging from three to 30 years. Kinder Morgan will use the proceeds to pay a portion of a $6.22 billion pipeline acquisition from its general partner, Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI). Diversified manufacturer Leggett & Platt Inc. (LEG) plans to borrow $300 million via 10-year notes, and real estate firm Essex Portfolio LP (ESS) plans to issue $250 million also for 10 years. In the first seven days of August, investment-grade companies borrowed more than $15 billion, significantly more than the same period last year, when they borrowed $10.2 billion, according to data provider Dealogic. Two years ago, however, companies with investment-grade credit ratings borrowed nearly $34 billion over the same period. Low rates make it enticing for companies to refinance existing debt and take out new loans. That has given some investors pause. "These longer-dated bonds are probably dangerous at this stage in the economic cycle," said William Larkin, fixed income portfolio manager at Cabot Money Management. "We have very low coupons and long maturities, and that can be a recipe for a disaster if we get a stronger economic recovery." In the high-yield market Wednesday, cable operator Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR) is planning to sell $1 billion in 10-year notes through two subsidiaries. Write to Mike Cherney at Subscribe to WSJ:

Stock News for Metlife (MET)
10/25/201616:23:24Current Report Filing (8-k)
10/25/201616:20:21Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
10/25/201616:17:46Initial Statement of Beneficial Ownership (3)
10/25/201616:15:00MetLife Declares Fourth Quarter 2016 Common Stock Dividend
10/25/201603:02:00Finance Watch -- WSJ
10/24/201614:32:00U.S. Oversight of MetLife Called Into Question at Court Hearing
10/24/201612:40:00Correction to MetLife Article
10/24/201612:20:00U.S. Oversight of MetLife Called Into Question at Court Hearing
10/24/201612:11:00U.S. Oversight of MetLife Called Into Question at Court Hearing
10/21/201608:30:00David L. Herzog Named to MetLife’s Board of Directors
10/20/201617:03:34Current Report Filing (8-k)
10/20/201608:45:00MetLife Launches New Global Brand Platform Driven by Customer...
10/18/201612:40:00Zenefits Touts New Software in Turnaround Effort
10/17/201600:14:00MetLife Wins at the 20th Annual Asia Insurance Industry Awards
10/11/201609:00:00ADT Announces Affiliation with MetLife Auto & Home® to Provide...
10/07/201616:45:00A.M. Best Removes From Under Review & Affirms Credit Ratings...
10/06/201617:02:14Current Report Filing (8-k)
10/06/201616:19:49Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
10/06/201603:02:00Finance Watch -- WSJ
10/05/201618:20:00MetLife Opts for Spinoff of Life Insurance Operations

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