RLPC-UPDATE 2-BHP Billiton’s acquisition loan totals $45 bln

* Six banks lead $45 bln loan for BHP Billiton

* Five banks underwriting loan

* Bond refinancing expected after anti-trust clearance

By Alasdair Reilly & Tessa Walsh

LONDON, August 18 (BestGrowthStock) – BHP Billiton (BLT.L: ) (BHP.AX: )
has arranged a syndicated loan of $45 billion to back its
hostile bid for Canada’s Potash (POT.TO: ), market sources said.

Six banks are leading the financing, which has been
unequally underwritten by Banco Santander, Barclays Capital, BNP
Paribas, JP Morgan and Royal Bank of Scotland, a banker close to
the deal said, adding that TD Securities is acting as mandated
lead arranger and bookrunner.

BHP Billiton has locked up its lenders with a financing
exclusivity agreement, two of the bankers said.

BHP said earlier on Wednesday it has a “new multi-currency
term and revolving facility agreement entered into for the
purpose, among other things, of meeting the funding requirements
of the transaction.” [ID:nSGE67H031]

Further details of the jumbo loan financing are expected to
be included in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission on Friday, which will outline the terms of BHP’s
offer, one banker said.

BOND REFINANCING

The deal, which will carry a pricing premium due to its
size, will be refinanced with bond issues after the deal
receives regulatory clearance, the banker said.

Bankers do not expect significant anti-trust issues and said
there is a decent chance that the acquisition could close before
the end of the year.

Although a deal of this size could challenge loan market
capacity, bankers expect it to be well received. BHP is viewed
as a good credit with ancillary business and has a track record
of treating its banks well, they said.

RLPC-UPDATE 2-BHP Billiton’s acquisition loan totals $45 bln