How resilient are UK company bond issuers to refinancing dangers? – Financial institution Underground


Laura Achiro and Neha Bora

Central banks in most superior economies have tightened financial coverage by elevating rates of interest. Tighter financing situations could make it more durable for some companies to refinance their debt or may imply they face much less beneficial phrases after they do. This weblog explores the extent to which bond maturities may crystallise these refinancing dangers. General, UK company bond issuers seem broadly resilient to larger financing prices, however dangers are larger for riskier debtors notably if the macroeconomic outlook and funding situations have been to deteriorate.

What’s refinancing danger?

Paul and Zhou (2018) outline refinancing danger because the potential incapability of a borrower to safe new financing to interchange current debt coming due. Refinancing of bond debt is necessary because the UK company funding panorama has materially developed for the reason that late 2000s with corporations decreasing their dependence on financial institution borrowing and rising their use of market-based finance (MBF). The share of bond finance to total UK company debt has elevated to 33% right now, in comparison with the 22% share at end-2008.

We use a bottom-up knowledge set to scale the extent of refinancing danger within the brief (two-year) and medium time period (five-year horizon). Our knowledge set is constructed from matching issuance-level market knowledge with firm accounts knowledge throughout a given group’s possession construction. This strategy supplies a breadth of knowledge together with the UK bond issuer’s total credit score profile by means of a fuller mapping of the UK domiciled group and of the financing entities inside that group, extra up-to-date info on bond tenors after accounting for bond occasions (eg, known as bonds forward of maturity).

How giant are bond refinancing dangers in combination?

Round 15% of UK company bonds mature throughout the subsequent two years (Chart 1). That is in step with latest historic averages, and barely beneath the extent prevailing earlier than the worldwide monetary disaster (GFC). The image is analogous on the five-year horizon, with round 40% of bonds maturing – in step with latest historic averages. That is partly as a result of the pre-GFC interval was characterised by relaxed lending requirements, and extreme leverage ranges. Nonetheless, in subsequent years, classes discovered from the monetary disaster have paved the way in which for advances in danger administration and extra cautious lending practices.

Chart 1: Debt-weighted share of refinancing wants for UK PNFC bonds (a)

Sources: LSEG and employees calculations.

(a) The full UK PNFC bonds proven on this chart excludes non-rated and withdrawn bonds.

How way more susceptible are riskier issuers?

Dangers seem considerably bigger for high-yield bond issuers. These bonds comprise round £59 billion (17%) of our £352 billion knowledge set which excludes non-rated and withdrawn bonds. These issuers are largely at a better danger of default, and that is mirrored in a better value of funding.

For the riskier subset of high-yield debtors, the proportion of bonds maturing inside two years is barely above historic averages and GFC ranges (Chart 2). Equally, the proportion maturing inside 5 years can be above pre-GFC ranges.

The latest knowledge present a rise in bonds maturing throughout each time horizons. Usually, corporates usually don’t wait till a bond matures to refinance it; they may search to refinance forward of maturity to make sure that they’ve continuity of funding. Nonetheless, with tighter market situations, similar to larger rates of interest, larger credit score spreads and decreased investor urge for food for riskier debt, corporates could discover it tough to safe beneficial phrases to refinance current debt or debt coming due. This will result in corporates selecting to delay refinancing till nearer to the maturity date of their bonds.

Chart 2: Debt-weighted share of refinancing wants for high-yield UK PNFC bonds (a)

Sources: LSEG and employees calculations.

(a) The full UK PNFC high-yield bonds proven on this chart excludes non-rated and withdrawn bonds.

Charts 3a and 3b present the forward-looking maturity profiles for investment-grade bonds and high-yield bonds issued by UK personal non-financial companies (PNFCs). It’s fascinating that the bars for each investment-grade and high-yield bonds are very comparable sized throughout years.

Much less reassuring although, round 57% of excellent investment-grade bonds are rated BBB that means {that a} one notch downgrade may scale back their ranking to excessive yield. This might lead some buyers to promote their holdings, for instance if their mandate prevents them holding high-yield bonds. And this promoting strain may push bond costs down, past ranges in keeping with the downgrade information.

Chart 3a: Ahead-looking maturity wall for UK investment-grade PNFC bonds (a)

Sources: LSEG and employees calculations.

(a) The full UK PNFC investment-grade bonds proven on this chart excludes non-rated and withdrawn bonds.

Inside the inhabitants of excellent high-yield bonds maturing between 2024 and by 2028, the overwhelming majority are rated both BB (12%) or B (4%), and just one% of the excellent inventory of UK company bonds falls into the riskiest bucket rated CCC or beneath (Chart 3b). Whereas we’d take consolation within the cohort of the riskiest bonds being comparatively low, the pattern in bond maturity reinforces dangers round a susceptible tail of corporates that want monitoring.

Chart 3b: Ahead-looking maturity wall for UK high-yield PNFC bonds (a)

Sources: LSEG and employees calculations.

(a) The full UK PNFC high-yield bonds proven on this chart excludes non-rated and withdrawn bonds.

How way more costly is bond issuance right now?

To supply context, we use a hypothetical illustration the place we see the standard issuance value of high-yield bonds has elevated to 10.25% (Financial institution Charge of 5.25% as at December 2023 plus high-yield OIS unfold of 5%). The typical tenor of a UK company bond is 10 years, so for comparability functions we take a look at the price of issuing a bond 10 years in the past in December 2013. We discover that the fee has greater than doubled from 4.9% in 2013 (Financial institution Charge of 0.5% as at December 2013 plus high-yield OIS unfold of 4.4%). Furthermore, not way back in 2021, high-yield bond issuers have been paying even much less, with issuance prices averaging 4.1% (Financial institution Charge of 0.25% as at December 2021 plus high-yield OIS unfold of three.9%).

Likewise, the present value of issuing an investment-grade company bond has additionally elevated to six.72% (base charge of 5.25% plus investment-grade OIS unfold of 1.47%) in December 2023. This represents a rise of 547 foundation factors since 2021 however stays considerably decrease than the price of issuing a high-yield bond. A company that’s downgraded from BBB (funding grade) to excessive yield would subsequently face a pointy enhance in issuance prices.

What levers can corporates pull to mitigate refinancing dangers?

Along with official rates of interest, the extent of company bond spreads is a key determinant of the price of refinancing. Current knowledge reveals a downtick in company bond spreads because the yield premium over authorities bonds decreases (Chart 4). The autumn in spreads for the high-yield bonds (purple line) is far sharper than for investment-grade bonds (pink line in Chart 4). Corporates would possibly select to benefit from this and refinance their debt early whereas spreads are comparatively low to lock them in. Or they could select to attend within the hope that official rates of interest fall. Doing so may show dangerous, as earlier episodes, together with the GFC, present that bond spreads can enhance considerably if the economic system or monetary markets expertise stress.

Chart 4: Company bond spreads

Sources: ICE BofA Sterling Excessive Yield Index (Ticker: HL00) and ICE BofA Sterling Industrial Index (Ticker: UI00).

Corporates may additionally select to repay debt with money reserves slightly than refinance it. Chart 5 reveals that UK corporates have wholesome money reserves in comparison with the GFC interval. On the combination degree, UK company holdings of liquid belongings have been on an total upwards pattern and elevated by almost £180 billion since 2019 to round £786 billion in 2023 Q3 (Chart 5). This build-up in liquid belongings has been supported by sturdy development in nominal earnings for the reason that pandemic. This has decreased the mixture internet debt to earnings of UK corporates to a historic low of 119% (Chart 5).

Alternatively, corporates could select to deleverage, or take different defensive actions similar to decreasing employment and funding which may scale back financial development. Thus far, UK corporates have decreased their inventory of excellent bonds by 6% since December 2021 when the Financial institution Charge was first raised by the Financial Coverage Committee.

Chart 5: Liquid asset holdings by PNFCs

Sources: Affiliation of British Insurers, Financial institution of England, Bayes CRE Lending Report (Bayes Enterprise Faculty (previously Cass)), Deloitte, Finance and Leasing Affiliation, agency public disclosures, Integer Advisors estimates, LCD an providing of S&P International Market Intelligence, London Inventory Change, ONS, Peer-to-Peer Finance Affiliation, LSEG and Financial institution calculations.

Summing up

General, our evaluation helps the Monetary Coverage Committee’s evaluation in its newest Monetary Stability Report that UK companies are anticipated to be resilient total to larger rates of interest and weak development. However that some companies are prone to wrestle extra with borrowing prices, together with companies in elements of the economic system most uncovered to a slowdown, or with a considerable amount of debt. We discover that dangers are extra elevated for high-yield bond debtors, notably on the five-year horizon.

Laura Achiro and Neha Bora work within the Financial institution’s Macro-Monetary Dangers Division.

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