Berkshire Hathaway marketing yen bonds

New York

WARREN Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway kicked off marketing of a multi-tranche yen bond deal on Monday, several months after announcing investments in Japan's biggest trading companies.

Berkshire Hathaway is offering yen notes for a third straight year, targeting a four-part yen deal that may price on Thursday, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co, one of the bookrunners on the deal.

The proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes. The conglomerate sold 430 billion yen (S$5.23 billion) of the securities in its inaugural deal in 2019, which was one of the largest sales by a foreign issuer in yen.

The US firm said in August that it had acquired stakes of about 5 per cent in Itochu, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Mitsui & Co and Sumitomo. Mr Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway, didn't make any major investment in 2020, but the company bought up its own stock and is sitting on US$138 billion of cash.

The company said last year that it planned to hold its Japanese trading house investments for the long term and that it could increase its holding in any of the five to as much as 9.9 per cent.

Berkshire Hathaway also plans to refinance US$1 billion of notes that matured on March 15 from the proposed yen debt offering, according to the deal terms.

Demand for corporate bonds in the yen market has been solid this year as the Bank of Japan's negative interest-rate policy has kept yields on company debt from rising much, despite volatility. Nagoya Railroad's five-year bond, which priced with a coupon of 0.09 per cent last month, garnered demand almost nine times the issuance size.

Berkshire Hathaway is offering a five-year bond at 17-20 basis points over mid-swaps, which at current market levels is equivalent to a coupon of about 0.2 per cent.

The deal also includes 10-year, 15-year and 20-year notes, with expected ratings from Moody's Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings higher than those given to Japanese sovereign. BLOOMBERG


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