Continental Airlines looks to be back in the market perhaps twice before yearend, as the firm looks to securitize upwards of $900 million of enhanced equipment trust certificates.

Jacques Lapointe, managing director of corporate finance at the Houston-based airline, said the company will most likely securitize close to $900 million "to cover 1999's deliveries," probably in the next couple of months.

Continental issues the EETCs largely to finance the purchase of new aircraft.The firm recently acquired 11 commuter aircraft after completing a $118 million Salomon Smith Barney-led transaction late last year.

"The size hasn't been determined yet," said Lapointe. "But most likely it will be in excess of $500 million."

If volume on the deal is closer to $500 million versus $900 million, Lapointe said to expect another deal out of Continental to cover the leftover, though he added it is possible the firm would perform a straight debt financing.

Continental's last deal came in at $805 million in three tranches with average lives on the long end. The 12-year piece priced at 185 basis points above the bench; the 10-year chunk sold at 210 basis points over the curve; and the five-year piece garnered 230 basis points over. - SK

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