A busy week of new issuance, reminiscent of the record-breaking issuance week of this time last year, had syndicate personnel pulling the hair from out of their heads by week's end, following the pricing of just over $10 billion of new supply. During the week, deals topping $1 billion came from GMAC, GE Capital Aviation Services, Citibank, World Omni Financial, Capital One Financial and Conseco Inc.
Despite the supply seen in the first half of the year, already on pace to top $300 billion, demand remains strong for paper in all asset classes. "Things picked up all around this week," said Jeff Salmon, head of ABS research for Barclays Capital. "New issues were well received by investors throughout the week, even as new deals emerged within the same asset classes," he added.
The largest and arguably most successful offering of the week came from GMAC, which sold $1.7 billion of retail auto loan-backed paper to strong investor demand via a rare triple joint lead and books of J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Salomon Smith Barney. The series 2001-2 deal was two to five times oversold in all the $1.3 billion of publicly offered classes. Four-hundred seventy-seven million dollars of the issue was retained.
The most popular of these classes, $150 million of a 2.96-year fixed-rate A-4 and $680 million 0.97-year floating-rate A-2 classes, were approximately five and 2.4 times oversubscribed, respectively. Each of these classes went subject within one hour of the books being opened, according to Andrew Dym, managing director of the North American asset-backed group at JP Morgan Securities, calling the offering "incredibly successful."
As evidence of this Dym noted a tightening of two basis points in the aforementioned tranches in the one-day period from the dissemination of guidance Wednesday to actual pricing mid-day Thursday.
Cynthia Ranzilla, head of securitization for GMAC, credited the success to the bankers decision to offer floating-rate one-year and fixed-rate three-year paper, in particular the shape of the yield curve leading investor demand to floaters at the short end and fixed-rate paper further out on the curve.
Also enjoying incredible success this week, GE Capital Aviation's offering of $1.4 billion of aircraft lease-backed notes via Credit Suisse First Boston, which featured a class rated Aaa by Moody's Investors Service. The $405 million A-3 class, with a five-year amortizing structure, was three to four times oversold at 43 basis points over one-month LIBOR.
Neil McPherson, head of ABS research for CSFB credited the success of the deal to the affiliation to parent company General Electric, a triple-A rated entity which is one of the largest manufacturers of jet engines.
"This was just a beautiful collateral pool, all young, stage-three compliant planes. High quality, fuel efficient planes, permitted to land in any airport in the U.S. - all very easily marketable planes," McPherson added. Also, GE Capital Aviation has a reputation as the best aircraft lessor, with little downtime between the expiration of one lease and the signing of another.
For the second time in two weeks Citibank tapped the market with a $1.25 billion offering of senior notes from its "block & trap" credit card master trust. The five-year fixed-rated series 2001-6A offering priced via the lead of unit Salomon Smith Barney at a yield spread of 10 basis points over comparable swaps, following an upsizing from an initial $1 billion offering size.
Private concern World Omni Financial priced $954 million of auto lease-backed paper via the joint leads of Banc of America Securities and Merrill Lynch & Co. The series 2001-A offering, with floating-rate classes averaging from 0.2 years to 3.12 years, all priced tight to initial guidance.
Frequent issuer Capital One was in the market with $985 million of three-year floating-rate credit card-backed paper late in the week. The series 2001-4 offering, led by J.P. Morgan Securities, had not priced as of press time Thursday but was expected Friday.
Household Finance priced $543 million of three-year fixed-rate credit card-backed notes, pricing on the screws to price guidance. The series 2001-2 offering was led by Banc One Capital Markets.
In the manufactured housing sector, Conseco Finance priced $485 million of fixed-rate series 2001-2 paper via the lead of Lehman Brothers.
Also of note last week were not-so-large issues from some more obscure, infrequent issuers such as, Ameriquest Mortgage, MFN Financial, Starwood Vacations and CNL Funding.
The flood of supply is not slowing down in the coming week, as quarter-end funding needs will force more and more issuers to add deals to the pipeline. Bolstering the strong issuance is issuers' desire to front-load funding for the year, taking advantage of historically low absolute yields and strong investor demand to position themselves in the defensive-minded asset-backed securities market.