Drifting through the doldrums

Bookrunner Morgan Stanley has completed syndication of debt backing First Reserve Corporation‘s buyout of CHC Helicopter Corporation. Twelve banks joined during a senior phase which ran from April to the end of May: Bank of Ireland, Calyon, DZ, HSBC, HSH, Lloyds TSB, Marfin Popular Bank, Mediobanco, Natixis, Nordea and WestLB.

Debt facilities include: a US$300m term loan A paying 325bp, a US$275m term loan B paying 325bp and a US$275m term loan C paying 375bp.

In addition, undrawn facilities comprise a US$150m revolver, a US$75m lease backstop facility (reduced from US$150m), a US$50m acquisition/capex facility and US$50m in letters of credit.

Mandated lead arrangers and physical bookrunners DZ Bank and UniCredit have closed syndication of the €265m debt package supporting Barclays Private Equity‘s buyout of Novem from Taros Capital. GE Commercial Finance joined the lead duo as an mandated lead arranger and bookrunner prior to launch.

Lenders were scaled back after a two-phase syndication that left the facility oversubscribed.

Novem is a manufacturer of interiors for the automotive industry mainly for premium motorcars.

Commerzbank has been mandated as mandated lead arranger and bookrunner to arrange debt supporting the acquisition of Bartec by Capvis in a secondary buyout from Allianz Capital Partners and the Barlian Family, which acquired the business in a 2002 deal.

Debt consists of senior and subordinated facilities and is expected to be launched to syndication in September. Germany-based Bartec provides safety technology products and services for use in hazardous environments, including mines and other explosives arenas.

In July 2006 Bartec completed a €100m refinancing of debt put in place to back the 2002 deal, with HVB acting as bookrunner and mandated lead arranger.

At the time pricing on the B and C loans was flexed down by 25bp each. Post-flex, the all-senior loan comprises a €30m seven-year term loan A paying 225bp over Euribor, a €20m eight-year term loan C at 250bp, a €15m seven-year revolver priced at 300bp and a €15m seven-year acquisition facility at 250bp.

This week is expected to see Umbrellastream close the book on syndication of the US$2.4bn debt package backing the buyout of Expro. Mandated lead arranger and co-ordinator RBS and mandated lead arrangers HSBC, Lloyds TSB, RBC Capital Markets, DnB NOR and Calyon and joint lead arranger HBOS launched the deal last month.

Debt is split between a US$404.2m amortising seven-year term loan A paying 300bp over Libor, a US$472.2m eight-year bullet term loan B paying 350bp, and a US$472.2m nine-year bullet TLC paying 400bp. The deal includes a US$175m institutional carve-out of the term loan B and term loan B.

Unfunded tranches include a US$160m RCF and a US$160m capex/ acquisition facility, both priced at 300bp.

Junior debt is a US$724.4m 10-year mezzanine facility which has been largely pre-placed. The mezz pays 10%–4.25% cash and 5.75% PIK – and comes with call protection: non-call two, 102, 101.

Ticket sizes are US$60m, US$40m and US$25m, with fees of 145bp, 112.5bp and 87.5bp respectively.

Leverage is 3.94 for senior and 6.06 for total, and equity represents 51.5% of the total net capitalisation. A bank meeting will be held in London this Wednesday.

While the immediate pipeline for new deals looks light, business publisher Informa remains in focus.

It has confirmed it is in discussions with at least one party, widely rumoured to be a consortium of Blackstone and conferences business Dubai World Trade Centre, as well as a consortium of Providence Equity Partners, Carlyle and Hellman & Friedman.

Meanwhile Michael O’Leary, CEO of Irish airline Ryanair, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that he is convinced a Competition Commission’s investigation into airports operator BAA will lead to a break-up of the business and sell off of its airports.

He said Ryanair would pay in the region of £2bn for Stansted airport, which it uses as a hub, but any such break-up would also attract the interest of a range of investors, including infrastructure funds and large buyout houses.