Maxar raises less than expected with high yield bond sale

Satellite manufacturer Maxar Technologies has priced a high yield bond offering while reducing the size of the deal from its original target of $1.25 billion to $1 billion.

The bonds were priced with a coupon of 9.75% on November 15. The final pricing was on the wide side of initial price talk, which had been floated in the area of 9% earlier in the week. Investors also got a 2% discount on the bonds.

BofA Securities was the left lead on the bond, which matures in 2023 and has a non-call period of two years.

The bond will eventually be guaranteed on a first-priority, secured basis by several of Maxar’s subsidiaries, but the structure of the transaction was complicated by the fact that Maxar is in the process of selling certain real estate assets in Palo Alto, California. Maxar will not receive the bond proceeds until the real estate deal is finalized. In the meantime, the cash will be held in escrow.

To make this work, Maxar issued the bonds through a subsidiary called SSL Robotics. The bond deal is expected to close on December 2, but the satellite maker will not assume the obligations itself, and the bonds will not be secured, until the real estate deal is done.

Once it receives the proceeds of the bond sale, Maxar intends to use the cash to repay borrowings under its revolving credit facility and syndicated bank loans.

At the end of June, Maxar had drawn down $701 million of its $1.15 billion revolver. The syndicated bank loans, meanwhile, total $500 million.

Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings have rated the new bonds B2 and B, both with a negative outlook. The rating agencies flagged business risks including high leverage and a shrinking market for geostationary satellites.

“The negative outlook reflects the company’s high leverage, negative free cash flow and execution risks to improving revenue and EBITDA in the next 12 to18 months,” said Peter Adu, a vice president and senior analyst at Moody’s.

Maxar’s president and CEO, Daniel Jablonsky, has been grappling with these issues since taking over from Howard Lance at the beginning of the year.

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