Archive for the ‘Return of Capital’ Category

AX.PR.U Redemption Becomes Official

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

Artis Real Estate Investment Trust has announced (on 2018-2-22):

that it has delivered formal notice to the holder(s) of its Preferred Units, Series C (the “Series C Units”) that, on March 31, 2018, the Trust will redeem all of the 3,000,000 outstanding Series C Units at a price of US$25.328125 (the “Redemption Price”) for each Series C Unit, being US$25.00 plus US$0.328125 in accrued and unpaid distributions thereon up to but excluding March 31, 2018.

The Redemption Price will be payable upon presentation and surrender of the Series C Units called for redemption at the corporate trust offices of AST Trust Company (Canada) at 1 Toronto Street, Suite 1200, Toronto, Ontario, M5C 2V6, Attention: Corporate Actions.

The intention to redeem, but not a commitment, was announced in January.

AX.PR.U is a FixedReset, 5.25%+446, US Pay, ROC, that commenced trading 2012-9-18 after being announced 2012-9-11. It is callable at par on March 31. The issue has not been tracked by HIMIPref™ as it is US-Pay.

AX.PR.I Settles Firm on Decent Volume

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Artis Real Estate Investment Trust has announced:

that it closed its previously announced public offering, through a syndicate of underwriters led by TD Securities Inc., RBC Capital Markets and Scotiabank (collectively the “Underwriters”), on a bought deal basis, of 5,000,000 cumulative minimum rate reset preferred trust units, Series I (“Series I Units”) at a price of $25.00 per Series I Unit for gross proceeds of $125,000,000 (the “Financing”).

DBRS Limited has assigned a rating of Pfd-3 (low) to the Series I Units.

Artis intends to use the net proceeds from the Financing to redeem its existing U.S. dollar denominated cumulative redeemable preferred trust units, Series C and for general trust purposes.

AX.PR.I is a FixedReset, 6.00%+393M600, ROC issue announced 2018-01-22. It will be tracked by HIMIPref™ but will be relegated to the Scraps subindex on the basis of its Pfd-3(low) rating from DBRS.

The issue traded 419,647 shares today in a range of 24.90-99 before closing at 24.95-97. Vital statistics are:

AX.PR.I FixedReset YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2048-01-31
Maturity Price : 23.13
Evaluated at bid price : 24.95
Bid-YTW : 5.98 %

Investors should note that according to the prospectus (see SEDAR and search for Artis Real Estate Investment Trust Jan 24 2018 15:21:01 ET Prospectus (non pricing) supplement – English PDF 606 K; I am not permitted to link to this public document on its public website directly, because the Canadian Securities Administrators don’t want you to bother your pretty little heads with things like “prospectuses” and the like. Just do what the nice man at the bank tells you is best. If he wasn’t wise and benevolent, he wouldn’t be working for a bank, would he now?) [emphasis added]:

The holders of Series I Units will have the right, at their option, to reclassify their Series I Units as Preferred Units, Series J (“Series J Units”) of Artis, subject to certain conditions, on April 30, 2023 and on April 30 every five years thereafter.

The CRA (as hereinafter defined) has expressed the preliminary view that the reclassification of the Series I Units and Series J Units would likely result in a taxable disposition at that time.

The tax consequences of reclassification are not necessarily a good or bad thing, although note that the fact that such reclassification is an option suggests the issue will be trading below par. It will depend on your Adjusted Cost Base and personal tax circumstances.

Thanks again to Assiduous Reader JB who originally brought this issue to my attention.

The new issue looks quite expensive to me, according to Implied Volatility Analysis:

impvol_ax_180131
Click for Big

This perceived richness has a different source than the other issues discussed here recently, such as the BEP.PR.M issue, the CM.PR.S issue and the NA.PR.E, since the calculated level of Implied Volatility, 9%, is actually quite reasonable.

In this case, the richness is due to the extraordinarily high value that retail – fighting the last war, as always – has placed on the minimum reset guarantee. If, like me, you consider the guarantee to have little or no value, you will expect the new issue to be trading near the price of AX.PR.A, which has an Issue Reset Spread of 406bp (and a current coupon of 5.662%). However, this issue closed today at 23.50 bid, indicating that retail considers the minimum rate guarantee to be worth somewhere around $1.50. Wow! That’s many multiples of the value of the call option in this analysis!

BIP.PR.E Settles Firm on Modest Volume

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Brookfield Infrastructure hasn’t announced anything, but their new issue of BIP.PR.E settled today.

BIP.PR.E is a FixedReset, 5.00%+300M500, ROC, announced January 15. It will be tracked by HIMIPref™ and has been assigned to the FixedResets subindex on the basis of its P-2(low) rating from S&P (it is not rated by DBRS).

The issue traded 421,809 shares today in a range of 24.85-00 before closing at 24.93-95. Vital statistics are:

BIP.PR.E FixedReset YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2048-01-23
Maturity Price : 23.13
Evaluated at bid price : 24.93
Bid-YTW : 4.96 %

This issue looks quite expensive to me, according to Implied Volatility Analysis:

impvol_bip_180123
Click for Big

We see in this chart many of the same features we saw when reviewing the recent new issues of NA.PR.E, BEP.PR.M and CM.PR.S:

  • The curve is very steep, with Implied Volatility equal to 40% (a ridiculously large figure), and
  • The prior issues are trading relatively near to, or well above par

The ludicrously high figure of Implied Volatility is something I take to mean that the underlying assumption of the Black-Scholes model, that of no directionality of prices, is not accepted by the market; the market seems to be taking the view that since things seem rosy now, they will always be rosy and everything will trade near par in the future.

I balk at ascribing a 100% probability to this outcome. There may still be a few old geezers amongst the Assiduous Readers of this blog who can still (faintly) remember the Great Bear Market of 2014-16, in which quite a few similar assumptions made earlier turned out to be slightly inaccurate.

For the long term, I suggest that any change in the slope of the curve will be a flattening, with a very high degree of confidence. This will imply that the higher-spread issues will outperform the lower-spread issues.

All told, though, I have no hesitation in slapping an ‘Expensive’ label on this issue – according to the Implied Volatility analysis shown above, the theoretical price of the new issue is 23.41, down from the announcement day estimate of 23.50 – and, remember, that is before making any adjustments for the ridiculously steep Implied Volatility calculation curve.

AX.PR.U : Probable Call 2018-3-31

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

When announcing today’s new issue, Artis Real Estate Investment Trust stated:

Artis intends to use the net proceeds from the Financing to redeem its existing U.S. dollar denominated cumulative redeemable preferred trust units, Series C and for general trust purposes.

This intention (not yet a formal commitment!) was repeated in a later announcement.

AX.PR.U is a FixedReset, 5.25%+446, US Pay, ROC, that commenced trading 2012-9-18 after being announced 2012-9-11. It is callable at par on March 31. The issue has not been tracked by HIMIPref™ as it is US-Pay.

New Issue: AX FixedReset, 6.00%+393M600, ROC

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Artis Real Estate Investment Trust has announced:

that is [sic] has entered into an agreement to sell to a syndicate of underwriters led by TD Securities Inc., RBC Capital Markets and Scotiabank (collectively the “Underwriters”), on a bought deal basis, 4,000,000 Cumulative Minimum Rate Reset Preferred Trust Units, Series I (“Series I Units”) at a price of $25.00 per Series I Unit (the “Issue Price”) for gross proceeds of $100,000,000 (the “Financing”). Artis has also granted the Underwriters an option, exercisable at any time up to 48 hours prior to the closing of the Financing, to purchase a further 1,000,000 Series I Units at the Issue Price, which, if fully exercised, would result in additional gross proceeds of $25,000,000.

The Series I Units will pay fixed cumulative preferential distributions of $1.50 per Series I Unit per annum, yielding 6.00% per annum, payable on the last day of January, April, July and October of each year, as and when declared by the board of trustees of Artis, for the initial period ending on April 30, 2023. The first quarterly distribution, if declared, will be payable on April 30, 2018 and will be $0.3750 per Series I Unit, based on the anticipated closing date of the Financing on January 31, 2018. The distribution rate will be reset on April 30, 2023 and every five years thereafter at a rate equal to the greater of (i) the sum of the then five year Government of Canada bond yield and 3.93% and (ii) 6.00%. The Series I Units are redeemable by Artis, at its option, on April 30, 2023 and on April 30 of every fifth year thereafter.

Holders of Series I Units will have the right to reclassify all or any part of their Series I Units as Cumulative Floating Rate Preferred Trust Units, Series J (the “Series J Units”), subject to certain conditions, on April 30, 2023 and on April 30 of every fifth year thereafter. Such reclassification privilege may be subject to certain tax considerations (to be disclosed in the prospectus supplement for the Financing). Holders of Series J Units will be entitled to receive a floating cumulative preferential distribution, payable on the last day of January, April, July and October of each year, as and when declared by the board of trustees of Artis, at a rate equal to the sum of the then 90-day Government of Canada Treasury Bill yield plus a spread of 3.93%.

DBRS Limited has assigned a provisional rating of Pfd-3 (low) to the Series I Units.

The Financing is being made pursuant to the REIT’s base shelf prospectus dated August 8, 2016. The terms of the offering will be described in a prospectus supplement to be filed with Canadian securities regulators. The Financing is expected to close on or about January 31, 2018 and is subject to regulatory approval.

Artis intends to use the net proceeds from the Financing to redeem its existing U.S. dollar denominated cumulative redeemable preferred trust units, Series C and for general trust purposes.

They later announced:

that as a result of strong investor demand for its previously announced offering, the underwriters have exercised their option to increase the size of the offering to 5,000,000 Cumulative Minimum Rate Reset Preferred Trust Units, Series I (“Series I Units”) to be offered on a bought deal basis to a syndicate of underwriters led by TD Securities Inc., RBC Capital Markets and Scotiabank (collectively the “Underwriters”). The Series I Units will be issued at a price of $25.00 per unit, for gross proceeds of $125,000,000 (the “Financing”).

The Financing is being made pursuant to the REIT’s base shelf prospectus dated August 8, 2016. The terms of the offering will be described in a prospectus supplement to be filed with Canadian securities regulators. The Financing is expected to close on or about January 31, 2018 and is subject to regulatory approval.

Artis intends to use the net proceeds from the Financing to redeem its existing U.S. dollar denominated cumulative redeemable preferred trust units, Series C and for general trust purposes.

The issue they intend to redeem is AX.PR.U, a FixedReset, 5.25%+446 US PAY ROC announced 2012-09-11 which commenced trading 2012-9-18, and which is callable at par on 2018-3-31.

The new issue looks quite expensive to me, according to Implied Volatility Analysis:

impvol_ax_180122
Click for Big

This perceived richness has a different source than the other issues discussed here recently, such as the BEP.PR.M issue, the CM.PR.S issue and the NA.PR.E, since the calculated level of Implied Volatility, 11%, is actually quite reasonable.

In this case, the richness is due to the extraordinarily high value that retail – fighting the last war, as always – has placed on the minimum reset guarantee. If, like me, you consider the guarantee to have little or no value, you will expect the new issue to be trading near the price of AX.PR.A, which has an Issue Reset Spread of 406bp (and a current coupon of 5.662%). However, this issue closed today at 23.61, indicating that retail considers the minimum rate guarantee to be worth somewhere around $1.50. Wow! That’s nearly double the value of the call option in this analysis!

BEP.PR.M Settles Firm on Decent Volume

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

There was no announcement from Brookfield Renewable Partners L.P., but BEP.PR.M closed today.

BEP.PR.M is a FixedReset 5.00%+300M500 ROC announced 2018-01-09. The issue will be tracked by HIMIPref™ but relegated to the Scraps subindex on credit concerns.

The issue traded 437,036 shares today in a range of 24.75-00 before closing at 24.99-00. Vital statistics are:

BEP.PR.M FixedReset YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2048-01-16
Maturity Price : 23.14
Evaluated at bid price : 24.99
Bid-YTW : 4.92 %

This issue looks quite expensive to me, but quantifying the degree of richness is difficult. According to Implied Volatility Analysis:

impvol_bep_180116
Click for Big

Well, it’s starting to get monotonous, but we see in this chart many of the same features we saw when reviewing the recent BIP new issue as well as last week’s BEP issue, the CM issue and NA issue:

  • The curve is very steep, with Implied Volatility equal to 40% (a ridiculously large figure), and
  • The extant issues are trading relatively near to, or well above par

The ludicrously high figure of Implied Volatility is something I take to mean that the underlying assumption of the Black-Scholes model, that of no directionality of prices, is not accepted by the market; in turn, I suggest that this reflects a rather touching faith that the existence of a minimum rate guarantee on reset also indicates that the issues will never, ever trade below par. There will be a lot of long faces when this test gets failed in the future! All it will take is a spread-widening, whether market-wide or company-specific.

However, for the long term, I suggest that any change in the slope of the curve will be a flattening, with a very high degree of confidence. This will imply that the higher-spread issues will outperform the lower-spread issues.

Complicating the above analysis is a high probability that the three extant issues will each be called at the first opportunity. I will certainly agree that this is likely to happen, but I balk at ascribing a 100% probability to this outcome. There may still be a few old geezers amongst the Assiduous Readers of this blog who can still (faintly) remember the Great Bear Market of 2014-16, in which quite a few similar assumptions made earlier turned out to be slightly inaccurate.

All told, though, I have no hesitation in slapping a ‘Very Expensive’ label on this issue. According to the analysis illustrated by the above chart, the fair price is 23.36.

Update: Demonstration – to prepare the following chart I have constrained Implied Volatility to 10% (a much more reasonable figure, I think) and done a very, very, rough approximation to the error-minimizing Market Spread.

impvol_bep_180116_demonstration
Click for Big

In this calculation, the calculated fair values for the issues BEP.PR.G / I / K / M, with the difference from the actual market price in brackets, are 27.11 (+1.56), 28.23 (+2.48), 25.29 (+0.20) and 22.53 (-2.46). The values for N(d2) are 72%, 88%, 41% and 7%, respectively.

See the comments for the discussion.

Update #2, 2018-1-23: From January’s PrefLetter, here are charts FR-16, FR-31 and FR-37 … the numbering is consistent with the Fixed Reset Review of October 2016 that is referred to in the comments:

pl_180112_app_fr_chart_16
Chart FR-16, 2018-1-12
Click for Big
pl_180112_app_fr_chart_31
Chart FR-31, 2018-1-12
Click for Big
pl_180112_app_fr_chart_37
Chart FR-37, 2018-1-12
Click for Big

See the comments for discussion.

New Issue: BIP FixedReset, 5.00%+300M500, ROC

Monday, January 15th, 2018

Brookfield Infrastructure has announced:

that it has agreed to issue 8,000,000 Cumulative Class A Preferred Limited Partnership Units, Series 9 (“Series 9 Preferred Units”) on a bought deal basis to a syndicate of underwriters led by CIBC Capital Markets, BMO Capital Markets, RBC Capital Markets, Scotiabank, and TD Securities Inc. The Series 9 Preferred Units will be issued at a price of $25.00 per unit, for gross proceeds of $200,000,000. Holders of the Series 9 Preferred Units will be entitled to receive a cumulative quarterly fixed distribution at a rate of 5.00% annually for the initial period ending March 31, 2023. Thereafter, the distribution rate will be reset every five years at a rate equal to the greater of: (i) the 5-year Government of Canada bond yield plus 3.00%, and (ii) 5.00%. The Series 9 Preferred Units are redeemable on or after March 31, 2023.

Holders of the Series 9 Preferred Units will have the right, at their option, to reclassify their Series 9 Preferred Units into Cumulative Class A Preferred Limited Partnership Units, Series 10 (“Series 10 Preferred Units”), subject to certain conditions, on March 31, 2023 and on March 31 every five years thereafter. Holders of Series 10 Preferred Units will be entitled to receive a cumulative quarterly floating distribution at a rate equal to the 90-day Canadian Treasury Bill yield plus 3.00%.

Brookfield Infrastructure has granted the underwriters an option, exercisable until 48 hours prior to closing, to purchase up to an additional 2,000,000 Series 9 Preferred Units which, if exercised, would increase the gross offering size to $250,000,000.

The Series 9 Preferred Units will be offered in all provinces and territories of Canada by way of a supplement to Brookfield Infrastructure’s existing short form base shelf prospectus.

Brookfield Infrastructure intends to use the net proceeds of the issue of the Series 9 Preferred Units to fund a growing backlog of committed organic growth capital expenditure projects and an active pipeline of new investment opportunities, and for general working capital purposes. The offering of Series 9 Preferred Units is expected to close on or about January 23, 2018.

This issue looks quite expensive to me, according to Implied Volatility Analysis:

impvol_bip_180115
Click for Big

Well, it’s starting to get monotonous, but we see in this chart many of the same features we saw when reviewing last week’s BEP issue, the CM issue and NA issue:

  • The curve is very steep, with Implied Volatility equal to 40% (a ridiculously large figure), and
  • The extant issues are trading relatively near to, or well above par

The ludicrously high figure of Implied Volatility is something I take to mean that the underlying assumption of the Black-Scholes model, that of no directionality of prices, is not accepted by the market; the market seems to be taking the view that since things seem rosy now, they will always be rosy and everything will trade near par in the future.

I balk at ascribing a 100% probability to this outcome. There may still be a few old geezers amongst the Assiduous Readers of this blog who can still (faintly) remember the Great Bear Market of 2014-16, in which quite a few similar assumptions made earlier turned out to be slightly inaccurate.

For the long term, I suggest that any change in the slope of the curve will be a flattening, with a very high degree of confidence. This will imply that the higher-spread issues will outperform the lower-spread issues.

All told, though, I have no hesitation in slapping an ‘Expensive’ label on this issue – according to the Implied Volatility analysis shown above, the theoretical price of the new issue is 23.50. Mind you, the Implied Volatility cap rate of 40% is arbitrary; perhaps if I allowed 50% or so the new issue would sit on the curve … but in that case, Implied Volatility has become a completely arbitrary meaningless number.

New Issue: BEP FixedReset 5.00%+300M500

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Brookfield Renewable Partners L.P. has announced:

that it has agreed to issue 8,000,000 Cumulative Minimum Rate Reset Class A Preferred Limited Partnership Units, Series 13 (the “Series 13 Preferred Units”) on a bought deal basis to a syndicate of underwriters led by TD Securities Inc., BMO Capital Markets, CIBC Capital Markets, RBC Capital Markets and Scotiabank for distribution to the public. The Series 13 Preferred Units will be issued at a price of $25.00 per unit, for gross proceeds of $200,000,000.

Holders of the Series 13 Preferred Units will be entitled to receive a cumulative quarterly fixed distribution yielding 5.00% annually for the initial period ending April 30, 2023. Thereafter, the distribution rate will be reset every five years at a rate equal to the greater of (i) the 5-year Government of Canada bond yield plus 3.00%, and (ii) 5.00%. The Series 13 Preferred Units are redeemable on April 30, 2023 and on each Series 13 Reclassification Date (as defined below) thereafter.

Holders of the Series 13 Preferred Units will have the right, at their option, to reclassify their Series 13 Preferred Units into Cumulative Floating Rate Reset Class A Preferred Limited Partnership Units, Series 14 (“Series 14 Preferred Units”), subject to certain conditions, on April 30, 2023 and on April 30 every 5 years thereafter (each a “Series 13 Reclassification Date”). Holders of Series 14 Preferred Units will be entitled to receive a cumulative quarterly floating distribution at a rate equal to the 90-day Canadian Treasury Bill yield plus 3.00%.

Brookfield Renewable has granted the underwriters an option, exercisable until 48 hours prior to closing, to purchase up to an additional 2,000,000 Series 13 Preferred Units which, if exercised, would increase the gross offering size to $250,000,000.

The Series 13 Preferred Units will be offered in all provinces and territories of Canada by way of a supplement to Brookfield Renewable’s existing Canadian short form base shelf prospectus. The Series 13 Preferred Units may not be offered or sold in the United States or to U.S. persons absent registration or an applicable exemption from the registration requirements under the U.S. Securities Act.

Brookfield Renewable intends to use the net proceeds of the issue of Series 13 Preferred Units to repay indebtedness. The offering of Series 13 Preferred Units is expected to close on or about January 16, 2018.

They later announced:

that as a result of strong investor demand for its previously announced offering, the underwriters have exercised their option to increase the size of the offering to 10,000,000 Cumulative Minimum Rate Reset Class A Preferred Limited Partnership Units, Series 13 (the “Series 13 Preferred Units”) to be offered on a bought deal basis to a syndicate of underwriters led by TD Securities Inc., BMO Capital Markets, CIBC Capital Markets, RBC Capital Markets and Scotiabank. The Series 13 Preferred Units will be issued at a price of $25.00 per unit, for gross proceeds of $250,000,000.

This issue looks quite expensive to me, but quantifying the degree of richness is difficult. According to Implied Volatility Analysis:

impvol_bep_180109
Click for Big

We see in this chart many of the same features we saw when reviewing the recent BPO new issue:

  • The curve is very steep, with Implied Volatility equal to 40% (a ridiculously large figure), and
  • Each of the extant issues is trading at a premium

The ludicrously high figure of Implied Volatility is something I take to mean that the underlying assumption of the Black-Scholes model, that of no directionality of prices, is not accepted by the market; in turn, I suggest that this reflects a rather touching faith that the existence of a minimum rate guarantee on reset also indicates that the issues will never, ever trade below par. There will be a lot of long faces when this test gets failed in the future!

However, for the long term, I suggest that any change in the slope of the curve will be a flattening, with a very high degree of confidence. This will imply that the higher-spread issues will outperform the lower-spread issues.

Complicating the above analysis is a high probability that the three extant issues will each be called at the first opportunity. I will certainly agree that this is likely to happen, but I balk at ascribing a 100% probability to this outcome. There may still be a few old geezers amongst the Assiduous Readers of this blog who can still (faintly) remember the Great Bear Market of 2014-16, in which quite a few similar assumptions made earlier turned out to be slightly inaccurate.

All told, though, I have no hesitation in slapping a ‘Very Expensive’ label on this issue.

AX.PR.A : No Conversion to FloatingReset

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Artis Real Estate Investment Trust has announced:

that it has determined, based upon the election of holders of Preferred Units, Series A (“Series A Units”) (AX.PR.A), that less than 500,000 Series B Units would be issued on September 30, 2017 and consequently, no holders of Series A Units are entitled to reclassify their Series A Units to Series B Units on September 30, 2017.

Accordingly, all 3,450,000 Series A Units will remain issued and outstanding following September 30, 2017 and during the subsequent five year period commencing October 1, 2017, holders will be entitled to receive distributions, if, as and when declared by the Board of Trustees of Artis, in an annual amount per Series A Unit determined by multiplying the Annual Fixed Distribution Rate of 5.662% per annum by $25.00, payable quarterly on the last business day of each of March, June, September and December in each year during such period.

It will be recalled that AX.PR.A will reset to 5.662% and that I recommended against conversion.

As a result of all this AX.PR.A is a FixedReset, 5.662%+406, that was announced 2012-7-24 with a 5.25% coupon but only added to HIMIPref™ when the issue was rated by DBRS in 2013. It is tracked by HIMIPref™ but relegated to the Scraps subindex on credit concerns.

It is important to note that according to the prospectus supplement (available at SEDAR dated July 25, 2012; I am not permitted to link to it directly due to the cosy little contract the soon-to-be-bank-owned CDS has signed with regulators), taxation is complicated: “Artis’ income and net taxable gains for the purposes of the Tax Act will be allocated to the holders of Units and Preferred Units in the same proportion as the distributions received by such holders.” Particulars of the tax status of Artis’ distributions are published by Artis on their website.

AX.PR.A : Convert or Hold?

Friday, September 8th, 2017

It will be recalled that AX.PR.A will reset to 5.662% (paid on par) effective September 30.

Holders of AX.PR.A have the option to convert to FloatingResets, which will pay 3-month bills plus 406bp on the par value of $25.00, reset quarterly. The deadline for notifying the company of the intent to convert is 5:00 p.m. (Toronto time) on September 15, 2017; but note that this is a company deadline and that brokers will generally set their deadlines a day or two in advance, so there’s not much time to lose if you’re planning to convert! However, if you miss the brokerage deadline they’ll probably do it on a ‘best efforts’ basis if you grovel in a sufficiently entertaining fashion. The ticker for the new FloatingReset, if it is issued, has not been announced.

AX.PR.A is a FixedReset, 5.25%+406, that was announced 2012-7-24 but only added to HIMIPref™ when the issue was rated by DBRS in 2013. It is tracked by HIMIPref™ but relegated to the Scraps subindex on credit concerns.

The most logical way to analyze the question of whether or not to convert is through the theory of Preferred Pairs, for which a calculator is available. Briefly, a Strong Pair is defined as a pair of securities that can be interconverted in the future (e.g., AX.PR.A and the FloatingReset that will exist if enough holders convert). Since they will be interconvertible on this future date, it may be assumed that they will be priced identically on this date (if they aren’t then holders will simply convert en masse to the higher-priced issue). And since they will be priced identically on a given date in the future, any current difference in price must be offset by expectations of an equal and opposite value of dividends to be received in the interim. And since the dividend rate on one element of the pair is both fixed and known, the implied average rate of the other, floating rate, instrument can be determined. Finally, we say, we may compare these average rates and take a view regarding the actual future course of that rate relative to the implied rate, which will provide us with guidance on which element of the pair is likely to outperform the other until the next interconversion date, at which time the process will be repeated.

We can show the break-even rates for each FixedReset / FloatingReset Strong Pair graphically by plotting the implied average 3-month bill rate against the next Exchange Date (which is the date to which the average will be calculated).

pairs_fr_170908
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The market appears to have a distaste at the moment for floating rate product; most of the implied rates until the next interconversion are lower than the current 3-month bill rate and the averages for investment-grade and junk issues are both well below current market rates, at +0.61% and +0.68%, respectively! Whatever might be the result of the next few Bank of Canada overnight rate decisions, I suggest that it is unlikely that the average rate over the next five years will be lower than current – but if you disagree, of course, you may interpret the data any way you like.

Since credit quality of each element of the pair is equal to the other element, it should not make any difference whether the pair examined is investment-grade or junk, although we might expect greater variation of implied rates between junk issues on grounds of lower liquidity, and this is just what we see.

If we plug in the current bid price of the AX.PR.A FixedReset, we may construct the following table showing consistent prices for its maybe-soon-to-be-issued FloatingReset counterpart given a variety of Implied Breakeven yields consistent with issues currently trading:

Estimate of FloatingReset (received in exchange for AX.PR.A) Trading Price In Current Conditions
  Assumed FloatingReset
Price if Implied Bill
is equal to
FixedReset Bid Price Spread +1.00% +0.50% 0.00%
AX.PR.A 22.60 406bp 22.02 21.54 21.06

Based on current market conditions, I suggest that the FloatingResets that will result from conversion are likely to be cheap and trading below the price of their FixedReset counterparts. Therefore, I recommend that holders of AX.PR.A continue to hold the issue and not to convert. I will note that, given the apparent cheapness of the FloatingResets, it may be a good trade to swap the FixedReset for the FloatingReset in the market once both elements of each pair are trading and you can – presumably, according to this analysis – do it with a reasonably good take-out in price, rather than doing it through the company on a 1:1 basis. But that, of course, will depend on the prices at that time and your forecast for the path of policy rates over the next five years. There are no guarantees – my recommendation is based on the assumption that current market conditions with respect to the pairs will continue until the FloatingResets commence trading and that the relative pricing of the new pair will reflect these conditions.