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Europeans Buy $2.35b Stake In Westfield

Westfield Group has issued $2.35 billion in unsecured notes in a multi-currency offering in Europe, including 600 million euros and 600 million pounds sterling. The capital will be used primarily to retire short-term debt, says Peter Lowy, managing director.

Lowy says a significant portion of the funds will be used to retire bridge loans and other financing associated with acquisition of Chelsfield Plc, a private London-based retail real estate company, and the purchase of an additional 25 percent stake in the $2.7-billion White City Mall in London, which is being redeveloped. The remaining funds will go for general corporate purposes.

This was Westfield's third debt offering in less than a year, but the first in Europe. The company closed a $4 billion global syndicated facility in December. It included a $2.5 billion offering of unsecured notes in U.S markets and $2.1 billion in notes in global markets. The investor was a syndication of Australian and international banks.

Lowy suggests that a strong global presence gives his company the edge in raising capital in the international marketplace. “As a global company, we can get the lowest cost money,” he says. The 600 million euro offering was for seven-year fixed rate guaranteed notes at a 60 basis-point spread over mid-swaps, with a coupon of 3.625 percent. The 600 million pound offering was for 12-year, fixed-rate guaranteed notes at a spread of 110 basis points over U.K. Gilts, with a coupon of 5.5 percent.

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