New issuance this week totaled $6.715 billion, down a touch from last week's $7 billion total. There were notable issues, however including the first triple-A senior class from the new "MBNAseries" credit card-backed program and Conseco Inc.'s first foray into the credit card sector.
Following last week's sale of $500 million of single-A rated and triple-B rated subordinated paper, MBNA Corp. completed the sale of the first senior class from the new program. Pricing last Thursday, MBNA sold $1 billion of a five-year fixed-rate senior class, which was de-linked from the credit enhancing subs.
The deal, led by Lehman Brothers, priced with a 5.75% coupon at 99.8577 to yield 5.85% or 12 basis points over comparable five-year mid-market swaps.
"In the past week we have sold $1.5 billion of notes, which is more than we have sold in a single transaction in the past," said Vernon Wright, head of global funding for MBNA. "But this was a highly anticipated offering and the demand was there."
Wright added that MBNA can offer an additional $1.8 billion of pre-credit-enhanced senior notes, before having to sell additional subordinated paper.
Conseco's first credit card securitization, totaling $602 million of publicly offered notes, also went well and as a result was increased in size, from the initial $500 million the company had planned to offer. The floating-rate offering priced at a discount though, which gave investors the additional yield they sought for the new program, which was backed by a potpourri of consumer credit receivables.
"The private label credit card portfolio contained a number of retailers, 42 to be exact, including home improvement chain and recreational vehicle receivables," a source close to the deal said. The largest name in the portfolio was Menard Inc., an Eau Claire, Wisc.-based home improvement retailer, which represented 21% of the receivables.
The largest class of the offering, $530 million of three-year seniors, priced with a coupon of 28 basis points over one-month Libor at 99.887682 and a discount margin of one-month Libor plus 32 basis points. Credit Suisse First Boston was lead manager and book-runner for the deal.
Conseco plans to become "programmatic" with issuance "because the retail sector does not have the growth of the Visa or MasterCard credit card sector, offerings will come on a less-than-quarterly basis," it was added.
Arguably the most successful new issue of the week came from the market's most frequently seen name, Ford Motor Credit, which accounted for approximately 20% of all publicly offered securitized product in 2000. Ford's offering of $1.7 billion saw the longer-dated classes oversold by up to six times of what was offered, a company source said.
The publicly offered A-3 and A-4 classes, with one and two-year average lives, priced in line with initial guidance of 10 and 11 basis points over EDSF and two-year swaps, respectively. Further out on the curve, the 2.91-year A-4 class tightened two basis points to price at 9 over three-year swaps and was four times oversold. The single-A rated B class, with a 3.06-year average life, tightened four basis points to yield 39 basis points over swaps and was six times oversold.
There were a number of factors at work to create the phenomenal execution of this deal, according to David Ferrar, senior funding analyst in the Ford securitization department. Ferrar credited the relatively small size of the offering for creating scarcity value among investors, the lack of competing prime auto paper in the market this week and steepness in the yield curve creating a disparity between one- and three-year paper.
"The recent Fed rate cuts are being felt at the short-end of the curve, if you look at the one- and three-year classes of this offering the yields are very different," Ferrar said. "Also, Ford has seen numerous upgrades on its subordinated paper lately and hopefully this is the start of increased comfort on the part of investors in buying our single-A rated notes."
In the pipeline for the coming week are deals from The Metris Companies with a $750 million five-year credit card floater via Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown, and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group vehicle Kingfisher Trust, with a $1 billion floating-rate Australian RMBS via Salomon Smith Barney.