Uni-President launches NT$4.3 billion deal

Proceeds from the facility will refinance an NT$4.3 billion NIF arranged in September 1998.

Taiwan's largest food maker, Uni-President Enterprises Corp., has mandated Bank of Taiwan, BNP Paribas, DBS and Standard Chartered to raise NT$4.3 billion ($131 million) through a five-year syndicated loan. Standard Chartered is the publicity agent for the transaction. General syndication, launched earlier this week, is slated for close on August 23.

The five-year facility comprises of two tranches - a term loan (Tranche A) and a note issuing facility (NIF) (Tranche B). The average life of both the tranches is four years with a grace period of three years. Repayments begin after the third year and comprise five equal semi-annual instalments.

The margin on the term loan is 70bp over primary CP fixing rate. Under the NIF programme, banks joining in the syndication stage will issue a guarantee for the commercial paper issued by the borrower. The pricing for the NIF will be determined by bids received for the commercial paper from investors.

Proceeds from the facility will an NT$4.3 billion NIF arranged in September 1998. That deal was priced at a guaranteed commission of 40bp and matures in September 2003. By refinancing the NIF with the new transaction, Uni-President will be extending its maturity profile and be able to account for the new facility as a long-term liability. The NIF was oversubscribed and upsized from an original size of NT$3 billion.

According to figures provided by Dealogic, Uni-President's subsidiary, President International Development Corp, tapped NT$3 billion through a dual-tranche facility in July 2001. The five-year term loan paid a spread of 85bp over the average prime rate of Chang Hwa Commercial Bank and Hua Nan Commercial Bank. The three-year NIF paid a guaranteed commission of 75bp.

Listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, Uni-President manufactures, processes and sells food and beverages and operates vending machines and 7-11 stores throughout Taiwan. Uni-President also has significant investments in Mainland China. Uni-President is looking to list its Mainland subsidiaries on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.