New Issue: BCE FixedReset 4.15%+188

BCE Inc. has announced:

that it has entered into an agreement to issue and sell 12,000,000 Cumulative Redeemable First Preferred Shares, Series AK (series AK preferred shares), at a price of $25.00 per share, for aggregate gross proceeds of $300 million on a bought deal basis to a syndicate of underwriters led by CIBC World Markets Inc., RBC Dominion Securities Inc. and Scotia Capital Inc.

The underwriters have been granted an over-allotment option to purchase at the offering price an additional 1,800,000 series AK preferred shares exercisable until the date that is 30 days following the closing. Should the over-allotment option be fully exercised, the total gross proceeds of the series AK preferred share offering will be $345 million.

The series AK preferred shares will pay on a quarterly basis (with the first quarterly dividend to be paid September 30, 2011), for the initial fixed rate period ending December 30, 2016, as and when declared by the Board of Directors of BCE, a fixed cash dividend based on an annual fixed dividend rate of 4.15%. The dividend rate will be reset on December 31, 2016 and every five years thereafter at a rate equal to the 5-year Government of Canada bond yield plus 1.88%. The series AK preferred shares will be redeemable by the issuer on or after December 31, 2016, in accordance with their terms.

Holders of the series AK preferred shares will have the right, at their option, to convert their shares into Cumulative Redeemable First Preferred Shares, Series AL, (series AL preferred shares) subject to certain conditions, on December 31, 2016 and on December 31 every five years thereafter. Holders of the series AL preferred shares will be entitled to receive quarterly floating adjustable cash dividends at a rate equal to the three-month Government of Canada Treasury Bill yield plus 1.88%.

The series AK preferred shares will be offered for sale to the public in each of the provinces of Canada pursuant to a short form prospectus to be filed with Canadian securities regulatory authorities in all Canadian provinces. The offering is scheduled to close on or about July 5, 2011, subject to certain conditions, including obtaining all necessary regulatory approvals.

The net proceeds of this offering will be used for general corporate purposes.

Update: DBRS rates Pfd-3(high).

5 Responses to “New Issue: BCE FixedReset 4.15%+188”

  1. drap1 says:

    kind of nice to see the fixed rate spelled out, rather than “fixed rate will be adjusted to whatever we want”, as is the case with bce’s other series’…

  2. prefhound says:

    I have to admit, I missed where BCE prefs became “junk” at Pfd-3 High. Seems the rating has been in place since at least Sep 2010.
    Isn’t this odd, for an A- secured rated debt issuer (BBB+ unsecured) to have prefs rated as low as Pfd-3 high?

  3. jiHymas says:

    S&P has them at P-2(low), a two notch differential between the long term debt and the prefs.

    DBRS’ three-notch differential between senior unsecured and prefs (equating a Pfd-3(high) rating with BB+) does not seem to me to be excessive, particularly given BCE’s efforts in recent years to maximize common returns at the expense of all senior financing.

    Pay yer money and take yer chances!

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