New Issue: GWO Straight Perpetual, 5.25%

Great-West Lifeco Inc. has announced that it:

has today entered into an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters co-led by BMO Capital Markets and Scotiabank under which the underwriters have agreed to buy, on a bought deal basis, 6,000,000 Non-Cumulative First Preferred Shares, Series S (the “Series S Shares”) from Lifeco for sale to the public at a price of $25.00 per Series S Share, representing aggregate gross proceeds of $150 million.

Lifeco has granted the underwriters an underwriters’ option to purchase an additional 2,000,000 Series S Shares at the same offering price. Should the underwriters’ option be fully exercised, the aggregate gross proceeds of the Series S Shares offering will be $200 million.

The Series S Shares will yield 5.25% per annum, payable quarterly, as and when declared by the Board of Directors of the Company. The Series S Shares will not be redeemable prior to June 30, 2019. On and after June 30, 2019, Lifeco may, on not less than 30 nor more than 60 days’ notice, redeem for cash the Series S Shares in whole or in part, at the Company’s option, at $26.00 per share if redeemed on or after June 30, 2019 and prior to June 30, 2020; $25.75 per share if redeemed on or after June 30, 2020 and prior to June 30, 2021; $25.50 per share if redeemed on or after June 30, 2021 and prior to June 30, 2022; $25.25 per share if redeemed on or after June 30, 2022 and prior to June 30, 2023; and $25.00 per share if redeemed on or after June 30, 2023, in each case together with all declared and unpaid dividends up to but excluding the date of redemption.

The Series S Share offering is expected to close on May 22, 2014. The net proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes and to augment Lifeco’s current liquidity position.

They announced shortly afterwards that the greenshoe for another 2-million shares has been exercised, bringing the total issue size to $200-million.

I confess I’m a little surprised that they didn’t call GWO.PR.F, which has a coupon of 5.9% and is currently callable at par, but perhaps that will come later. Still, it’s nice to see another Straight Perpetual on the market; it is noteworthy that this is coming out of GWO, the most conservatively managed of the insurance companies.

Note that since this is an insurance issue, it will be analyzed by HIMIPref™ as a DeemedRetractible; a Deemed Maturity entry for 2025-1-31 at par has been added to the call schedule. This is due to my analysis, not as a result of anything in the prospectus.

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