Author Archives: Gernot Wagner

Tailor-Made Bond Financing Opportunities: Tapping the German High Yield Retail Market — The “Schaeffler” Precedent

In times of aggravated credit financing and continuing volatility in the markets, issuing high-yield corporate debt to retail investors can prove a feasible way of accessing money—for small, medium and even large enterprises. Historically, the purchase of individual bonds was beyond the reach of most private investors because the minimum amount needed to trade was typically € 50,000 (equivalent) or even € 100,000 (equivalent), but the retail bond market now provides direct access to corporate bonds for trading in retail-friendly increments of around € 1,000 (equivalent). Making corporate bonds available for lower amounts is a response to strong private investor demand. For instance, Schaeffler Group’s1 € 300 million 6.75% senior secured notes offering in denominations of € 1,000 to retail investors and an additional approximately € 26 million 6.75% senior secured notes offering to Schaeffler employees in Germany, which both completed in July 2012, serve as a paradigm for a high yield bond offering issued to retail investors. The transaction has showcased an innovative structure that combines an offering to retail investors in Germany and Luxembourg with a separate employee offering, thereby also resolving concerns that generally arise in the context of retail offerings. As the first single B rated credit high yield bond offering directed at retail investors, the deal is truly a market first.