Australia’s Leighton eyes US$ private bond-source

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SYDNEY, May 4 (BestGrowthStock) – Leighton Holdings Ltd (LEI.AX: ),
Australia’s top engineering contractor, is considering raising
debt in the United States, a source familiar with the borrower
said on Tuesday.

The firm has met with U.S. private placement market
investors and hired JPMorgan and HSBC to arrange the offer, the
source said.

“We are in the process of sounding the market as part of
our ongoing capital management programme,” a Leighton spokesman
said.

The U.S. private placement market has been a popular source
of funds for Australian companies looking for long-dated debt,
with 10 companies raising around US$3 billion there in 2009,
according to Reuters data.

Typical buyers of U.S. traditional private placements are
“buy and hold” U.S. insurance companies keen on long-dated
paper to match their assets.

Leighton’s offer does not include the participation of ANZ
Institutional Bank, which has a joint venture alliance with
U.S. investment bank JPMorgan in the U.S. traditional private
placement market, the source said without giving more details.

Leighton, which is rated BBB by S&P and Baa1 by Moody’s,
raised US$280 million in that very market in 2003 with HSBC and
Royal Bank of Scotland as joint leads.

More recently, the contruction firm raised A$230 million of
five-year bonds at 400 basis points over swap in 2009.

Stock Market Investing

(Reporting by Cecile Lefort)

Australia’s Leighton eyes US$ private bond-source