The Brazilian capital market has become attractive again as a funding alternative for companies, after a slowdown period from late March to early June caused by the political crisis. Estimates point to some R$20 billion to R$25 billion in new bond offerings in the second half. Of that, about R$8 billion to R$10 billion are likely to be issued under Law 12,431, which provides tax exemptions for individual investors who buy securities meant to fund projects that are mostly in infrastructure.
Yet banks don’t rule out the possibility of a higher volume than the R$25.9 billion of the first half — of which R$1.5 billion were raised with tax-exempt bonds. There was a 16.3% year-over-year growth in the total raised in the first half.
“The issuance of bonds and certificates of agribusiness receivables [CRA] are likely to top the R$70 billion of last year,” says Rafael Noya, head of debt market operation at Santander Brasil. The bank has more than 15 mandates of offerings being carried out, including CRA.
Among the ongoing offerings, the ones standing out are from Petrobras (R$5 billion), construction company MRV (R$700 million) and a R$1.5 billion issue by Arteris to finance its investments in the Footwear Highway, which it won in an auction this year.
In July, at least R$3.5 billion were raised via bonds. Autoban, a concessionaire that operates highways Anhanguera and Bandeirantes in São Paulo, for example, has just concluded a R$716.5 million offering in infrastructure bonds. “The [mainly political] uncertainty in May had made us hold back some transactions,” says Felipe Wilberg, head of fixed income at Itaú BBA.
On the side of demand, there was also higher interest for riskier assets both by individual and institutional investors, because of the monetary easing, which made the benchmark rate Selic fall to a single digit, and of the lower volume of bank securities, such as real estate and agribusiness letters of credit (LCI and LCA), which offer tax exemption to individuals. “Banks are issuing debt at lower rates and volumes,” says Paulo Laranjeira, head of local fixed income at Bradesco BBI, since they have high liquidity.
A proof of the growing demand from investors is the reduction of the share of intermediaries and participants in the offering in the bonds’ subscription, which fell to 34.6% in the first half from 87.9% a year earlier.
The second half also tends to be marked by the increase of infrastructure bonds. There is a significant demand for this type of debt security mainly from electricity distributors. In late June, the Ministry of Mines and Energy published an ordinance simplifying the process for these companies to issue tax-exempt bonds.
From now on, investment projects considered for the issuance of tax-exempt bonds may consider annual investment values, as part of the distribution development plan. Before, the companies had to file with the ministry each project separately, which delayed approval. “This considerably increased the volume of issues from the distributors,” Mr. Laranjeira, with Bradesco BBI, says.
Some financing transactions for the power-transmission projects won in auctions held last year are likely to begin coming to market this year, says Alberto Zoffman, head of project finance at XP Investimentos.
BTG is structuring about six issues of tax-exempt bonds. There is a R$600 million offering under way for a project of transmission lines with 14-year maturity, which will have a guarantee from BNDES, the national development bank.
Investor demand for higher returns, and therefore riskier assets, has also enabled the issuance of debt by companies with ratings a little below AA, which was concentrating the offerings. Movida, the second-largest car-rental company in the country, controlled by JSL group, raised R$400 million this month in its first bond issue. With maturities in three and five years, the offering, coordinated by BTG Pactual and with restricted distribution, was rated A+ and drew demand two times higher than the amount offered, which contributed to a cost reduction. The security maturing in 2020, for example, was priced at CDI [the benchmark short-term market rate] plus 1.55%, while the maximum rate was 2.5%. “There was a drop of about 150 basis points in the spread of the corporate debt issues in relation to the offerings held last year,” says Daniel Vaz, head of local debt market at BTG Pactual.
MRV Engenharia is one company getting better conditions on the market now. The company has a R$700 million issue and offers in one series, with maturity in three years, a remuneration of CDI plus 1.4%. In an offering early this year, for the same maturity, it paid CDI plus 1.5%, and the Selic rate at that point was at 12.25% and has now fallen to 9.25%.
Even though the domestic market continues with plenty of liquidity for the purchase of these securities, Mr. Noya, with Santander, doesn’t expect a sharper drop of these issues’ rates. “The room for a drop has already diminished, and below this level the risk/return starts to be asymmetrical,” he says.
Source: Valor Econômico