Ireland raises €2.5bn in bond sale
The National Treasury Management Agency has sold €2.5 billion of 2017 bonds in its first syndicated sovereign deal since 2010, having received orders worth more than €7 billion.
The last time Ireland raised funds through a syndicated deal – which differs from an auction in that the price is pre-agreed – was before the EU-IMF bailout programme was announced in December 2010.
Ireland looks likely to become the first sovereign to successfully exit a euro zone bailout programme and is expected to issue approximately €10 billion of debt this year.
"It was an excellent deal for Ireland ... There was a decent spread of demand across geographies. We've seen a few accounts getting back involved after the two-and-a-half year hiatus from the (Irish debt agency)," a trader said.
Irish five-year yields initially rose ahead of books opening on the deal but the strong demand saw the bonds recover early losses to trade flat at a yield of 3.36 per cent.
Given that Ireland's average cost of bond funding was circa 4.7 per cent prior to entering the bailout, to fund at such a level is a remarkable turnaround. It also represents a level lower than that which Ireland is borrowing from the troika, about 3.5 per cent.
The National Treasury Management Agency said 13 per cent of the bonds issued today were taken up by domestic investors and 87 per cent by overseas investors.
"The overseas investors were mainly from the UK (35.6 per cent), Nordic countries (12.4 per cent), France (9.5 per cent), and Germany (7.2 per cent). Outside of Europe, the US and Asia together accounted for less than 4 per cent," the agency said. "There was broad investor interest in the issue with over 200 investors submitting bids, including fund managers, banks, pension funds and insurance companies."
In a statement, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan described the sale as "a very welcome and positive development".
"This issuance has been facilitated by the international recognition of Ireland’s progress in returning our economy to growth and the commitment from the European Heads of State and government to break the negative link between the sovereign and the banks," he said.
"Today’s issuance reinforces the need to deliver on this commitment so as to ensure continued and assured market access."