The first two U.S. collateralized loan obligations of 2015 hit the market this week.

On Thursday, Fitch Ratings assigned a preliminary 'AAA' rating to $320 million of senior notes to be issued by CVC Credit Partners' Apidos CLO XX.  

The same day, Standard & Poor's assigned preliminary ratings to the $467.7 million Galaxy XIX CLO, which is being offered by Pinebridge Investments.

They debut one day earlier than the first deal of 2014, which priced on Jan. 16 of last year, according to Wells Fargo analyst David Preston.

Apart from the bragging rights, there doesn’t appear to be much that sets either CLO apart from the recent crop of deals. It is backed primarily by U.S. dollar-denominated senior secured loans to broadly syndicated corporate borrowers, according to S&P's presale report.

The deal is non-callable for two years; if not called, it will be actively managed for four years.

As of Jan. 15, Pinebridge had identified approximately 80% of the total assets expected to be acquired. That is a higher percentage than many deals completed last year.

Citigroup Global Markets is the initial purchaser and placement agent.

Last year was a record year for U.S. CLO issuance as managers raced to print deals ahead of new rules requiring managers to have more 'skin in the game.' The final tally was $123.6 billion of volume from 233 deals, according to Thomson Reuters. 

Spreads on the triple-A tranches of deals remained relatively unchanged in December, averaging 152 basis points.

Meanwhile, full-year European CLO issuance amounted to €17.2 billion. 

U.S. CLOs aggregate principal balance is now at $371 billion, European CLOs are at 67 billion euros (based on a universe of 868 U.S. CLOs and 241 European CLOs), according to Thomson Reuters. 

 

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