4 TALF-Eligible Deals Announced Ahead Of June 2 Deadline

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–Companies continue to tap the asset-backed securities market ahead of the deadline next week for the fourth round of TALF funding.

Four deals were added on Thursday, bringing the total pipeline of deals eligible for cheap funding from the Federal Reserve Board to $9.107 billion.

American Express Co. (AXP) announced a $1 billion deal dubbed AMXCA 2009-1 that is backed by its credit-card loans. The entire triple-A-rated deal will be priced in the area of 140 basis points over one-month Libor. Barclays Capital (BCS), Morgan Stanley (MS) and RBS (RBS) are the leads on the transaction expected to price June 2.

Earlier Thursday, CIT Equipment Collateral announced a $943 million deal that is backed by equipment loans through lead managers Barclays and Deutsche Bank (DB). The top-rated $352 million portion of the deal has initial price talk in the area of 210 basis points over the euro-dollar synthetic forward, a benchmark rate used in such deals.

Ford Credit announced another deal, FCALT 2009-A, worth $834 million, with Citi (C), Barclays, BNP Paribas (BNPQY) and HSBC (HBC) as lead managers.

A $550 million deal dubbed PFS Financing Corp. 2009-C&D backed by insurance premium finance loans also was in the market.

Over the past couple of days, there’s been a rush to issue deals through the Fed’s Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF, which allows investors to use these securities as collateral to get cheap funding. The program is aimed at restarting consumer lending, and bids in the fourth round are due Tuesday by 3 p.m. EDT.

As the program picks up steam it’s been able to draw both traditional and new investors to the ABS market, said Giuseppe Pagano, a managing director in the Asset Securitization Group at Barclays Capital in New York.

“TALF is doing what it is supposed to do in that it has the ball moving again,” Pagano said. The market is not yet at the point where all deals can be done easily without government support, but there are plenty of buyers who don’t seek to get funding through TALF who have stepped up to participate in these ABS deals, Pagano said.

Investors had been scared away from buying asset-backed securities as spreads on these bonds widened last year forcing sharp mark-to-market write-downs.

In the past few months, spreads have tightened on these bonds with a triple-A rated credit card security was quoted at 200 basis points as of mid-May versus 375 basis points before the launch of TALF, according to data from Barclays Capital.

Further, in the new issue market, prices on TALF-eligible issues have tightened with each round.

For instance, the first Citi credit-card transaction was sold at 175 basis points over one-month Libor, while the Chase deal from the last round priced at 155 basis points over one-month Libor. This time, the American Express transaction has a price talk in the area of 140 basis points over the benchmark.

-By Prabha Natarajan, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-5071; prabha.natarajan@dowjones.com

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