SES wins more than €2.5 billion of orders for €500 million bond

A €500 million eight-year bond offering from Luxembourg-based satellite company SES attracted strong demand from investors when it was priced on Oct. 28.

The offering was more than five-times oversubscribed, the company said, adding that the bond was placed with “a broad range of institutional investors across Europe.”

Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan, MUFG, SMBC Nikko and Société Générale were the bookrunners on the offering.

The bond was priced with a coupon of 0.875% and sold to investors at a 99.762% original issue discount. It was the lowest coupon on any bond ever issued by SES.

The company will use the proceeds in part to refinance existing debt. It has to repay a €650 million bond in March of next year.

“We are pleased to have secured this financing which allows us to proactively refinance an upcoming debt maturity at more favourable terms,” said Andrew Browne, chief financial officer of SES. “The successful conclusion of this bond offering reflects the market’s view of SES as a strong investment grade credit, and underlines the ability of SES to secure funding at attractive terms.”

SES, which has more than 70 satellites in operation in two different orbits — geostationary and medium earth — has Baa2 and BBB- credit ratings from Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings.

S&P downgraded the company from BBB last year after a review of the European satellite operator sector, noting “structurally weaker prospects in mature video markets, fiercer price competition or weaker price mix in emerging video markets, and less favorable economics than previously expected in data due to rapid technological changes.”

SES is launching four more medium earth orbit satellites this year and is planning to launch seven new “super-power” satellites from 2021 to serve aircraft, ships, data centres, remote offices, small towns and remote locations.

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