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Loan Market Commentary 02/26/2010

Today the market was all over the place. Overnight futures pointed to a higher open after comments that India’s economy could grow at a 10% pace in the “not too distant future,” came from the mouth India’s finance Minister. However, those gains were quickly reversed after we got some very poor housing numbers. Then the bulls were off running after the preliminary GDP number came in higher than expected at +5.9% verses estimates of +5.7%. But, then the University of Michigan consumer sentiment numbers came out lower than expected at 73.6 and down from 74.4 in January, which then sent equities lower again. Things did get a little be better in the afternoon on some short covering.
The loan market started the day off slow as the “snowicane” hit the New York area pretty bad and cause many delays. But, once things go going, loans did feel a bit better are were about an eighth stronger, especially in many of the off-the-run and distressed names. Index names chopped around with equities today, but for the most part they were down about an eighth. Volumes were light today again and many people remain better sellers. Graceway’s bank debt got beat up today after the FDA approved a generic version of its Aldara drug. MGM’s term loan firmed a quarter after lender approved its amendment. But, most other casino names were weaker today on the back of the housing data which showed that people are not to keen on buying a Condotel in Vegas. The LCDX was all over the board, opening up unchanged, then fell an eighth in the early morning but rallied back and finished the day at 101 ½ -101 ¾. In all, it was a pretty slow day and it sounds like next week will be as well. Have a great weekend.
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Barclays are joint lead arrangers on a $600 million senior secured bank loan backing Diamond Foods Inc's acquisition of Kettle Foods. The pro rata deal will include a $200 million, five-year revolving credit facility and a $400 million, five-year term loan A. Pricing on the TLA, based on a grid, will range from LIB+225 to LIB+350. The TLA will amortize at $40 million per year.
  • Fresenius, which launched today a new term loan C, is asking lenders in its deal to allow the company a $500 million basket to issue unsecured debt to repay senior secured debt. The company is also seeking to delay the step down/up of covenant levels. Several sources have said the credit is strong and that they do not expect the company's Ba1/BB corporate family ratings to change. Commitments are due March 9.
  • MGM Mirage announced today that lenders representing roughly $4.37 billion of commitments under its $5.55 billion bank loan have agreed to an amendment on the credit. The amendment will extend the maturity of a portion of the credit from Oct. 3, 2011, to Feb. 21, 2014. As per the amendment, after a required 20% reduction in credit exposure to extending lenders, the company will extend the maturity date to February 2014 on roughly $3.6 billion under the credit facility. The remaining $1.2 billion owed to lenders that have not consented to the extension will be repaid. The company also will re-tranche its credit so that roughly $1.4 billion under the revolving credit facility will be converted into term loans, leaving a revolving credit commitment of $2 billion. Of the $2 billion, roughly $400 million will mature in October 2011.
  • Graceway Pharmaceuticals' first- and second-lien loans dropped as a competitor gained FDA approval of a generic version of the company's Aldara drug. The first-lien loan is wrapped around 70 this morning, while the second-lien loan is wrapped around 40. Today's levels represent a roughly 10 point drop in the first-lien piece and an almost 20 point drop in the second-lien piece in the last two days.
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Barclays have provided financing commitments to back Thomas H. Lee Partners' $928 million buyout of CKE Restaurants, according to a press release. The purchase price includes the assumption of roughly $309 million of net debt. Under the terms of the agreement, CKE stockholders will receive $11.05 in cash for each share of CKE common stock they hold, representing a 24% premium to the company's closing share price on Feb. 25, 2010.
  • Zayo Group LLC is prepping a $225 million first-lien senior secured offering due 2017, according to IFR, a Thomson Reuters Service. Proceeds are to repay bank debt, repay interest swaps and for general corporate purposes. Morgan Stanley and Royal Bank of Canada are joint bookrunners. The roadshow begins today, with pricing expected late next week. Zayo is a regional provider of telecom services, including bandwidth, voice and managed services to carrier, enterprise, SME and government customers.
  • Niska Gas Storage has priced $800 million of its senior notes at par to yield 8.875%, according to IFR, a Thomson Reuters service. The note offering consists of a $218.75 million senior note by the U.S. issuers and $781.25 million of a senior note issued by the Canadian issuers.