Attesting to its position as the leading firm for Philippines capital markets transactions, Milbank LLP’s Hong Kong Capital Markets practice recently advised on 11 debt issuances for Philippine issuers raising over US$4 billion in the last five weeks. The high volume of transactions demonstrated the Philippines’ strength as one of the few Asian jurisdictions with significant capital markets activity amidst general market volatility in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each of the transactions were executed on tight timelines due to both pending earnings releases for the second quarter as well as concerns that any renewed wave of COVID-19 infections could result in decreased investor appetite and a prolonged market softening. The issuances spanned a wide range of sectors, including shipping and logistics, water, telecommunications, banking, finance and real estate. The issuers ranged from Philippine blue-chip companies, the country’s largest financial institutions, to other emerging players in the Philippine market.
All of the transactions were led by Milbank’s Hong Kong office managing partner, James Grandolfo, and capital markets partner Paul Pery, together with Hong Kong associates Cheyne Cudby, Ari Singzon and York Wu, as well as Singapore associates Steven Holm and Raashi Mukherji. Support from London was provided by partners James Warbey and John Goldfinch, as well as associates Klaudia Mach, Chris Burke, Alexandra Wells, Claire Bridcut, James Seddon and Steve Quinn.
Mr. Grandolfo said: “We are extremely proud to have the confidence and trust of so many clients doing business in the Philippines, including corporations, banks, and domestic and foreign underwriters. The impressive number of successfully closed transactions confirms Milbank’s position as the go-to firm for Philippines capital markets transactions and demonstrates the benefits of our expanded capabilities to Philippine issuers and underwriters as they return to the international market.”
Mr. Pery commented: “Despite travel and economic restrictions, as well as country-wide lockdowns, the Philippines has shown itself to be one of few resilient jurisdictions for market activity in Asia during the first half of 2020, and these transactions demonstrate the continued investor confidence in the Philippine market.”
Milbank’s strong showing included the below transactions.
DEBUT AND REPEAT ISSUANCES
The Milbank team assisted various Philippine issuers taking advantage of lower interest rates to complete successful benchmark deals, and advised on transactions wherein well-known Philippine names completed their maiden international capital markets issuances or returned to the global bond markets after lengthy absences.
- ICTSI. Advised International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (“ICTSI”) as issuer on the issuance of US$400 million 4.75% senior notes due 2030. ICTSI is one of the world’s largest port operators.
- Royal Capital BV. Advised Royal Capital B.V. (“RCBV”) as issuer and ICTSI as guarantor on the concurrent issuance of US$300 million senior guaranteed perpetual capital securities by RCBV and tender offer for RCBV’s existing US$450 million 5.50% senior guaranteed perpetual capital securities, both guaranteed by ICTSI.
- PLDT. Advised Credit Suisse and UBS as joint lead managers, and J.P. Morgan as co-manager in connection with PLDT Inc.'s dual tranche issuance of US$300 million 2.50% Senior Unsecured Notes due 2031 and US$300 million 3.45% Senior Unsecured Notes due 2050. PLDT Inc., one of the country’s leading telecommunications companies, was formerly known as the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, and is the oldest telecommunications company in the Philippines.
- Globe Telecom. Advised Globe Telecom Inc., one of the leading and largest telecommunications services providers in the Philippines, in connection with its dual tranche issuance of US$300 million 2.50% Senior Notes due 2030 and US$300 million 3.00% Senior Notes due 2035. The transaction marked Globe’s return to the US dollar bond market after more than 15 years.
- Manila Water. Advised BPI, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Mizuho and UBS as underwriters on the issuance of US$500 million 4.375 senior notes due 2030 by Manila Water Company, Inc.; Manila Water is one of the largest water services providers in the Philippines. The notes were issued under Manila Water’s sustainability framework, with use of proceeds earmarked to include “green” and “blue” projects.
- DoubleDragon. Advised Credit Suisse as Sole Global Coordinator, Joint Lead Manager and Joint Lead Bookrunner, and PNB Capital as Joint Lead Manager and Bookrunner in connection with DDPC Worldwide Pte. Ltd.'s issuance of US$75 million 7.25% Guaranteed Senior Notes due 2025. DDPC Worldwide Pte. Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of DoubleDragon Properties Corporation (“DoubleDragon”), a leading Philippine real estate development company. The transaction marked DoubleDragon’s debut in the US dollar bond market.
- Megaworld. Advised Citigroup and HSBC as Joint Global Coordinators and Joint Lead Managers and Joint Bookrunners; Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan as Joint Lead Managers and Joint Bookrunners in connection with Megaworld Corporation's issuance of US$350 million 4.125% Guaranteed Senior Unsecured Notes due 2027.
MTN PROGRAMME ISSUANCES
The Milbank team also advised on a number of offerings by Philippine issuers off their MTN programmes.
- BDO. Advised Standard Chartered Bank and Merrill Lynch (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. as Joint Lead Managers with respect to BDO Unibank, Inc.’s issuance of US$600 million 2.125% Notes due 2026 under its US$5 billion medium term note programme. BDO is one of the largest banks in the Philippines, and a member of the SM Group of companies.
- Metrobank. Advised UBS and First Metro as Joint Global Coordinators and Bookrunners, and MUFG and SMBC as Joint Lead Managers in connection with the issuance of US$500 million 2.125% Notes due 2026 under Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company’s US$2 billion medium term note programme. Metrobank is among the largest banks in the Philippines, and the issuance was their first in the US dollar market.
- San Miguel Corporation. Advised BofA, Standard Chartered and DBS as managers on the issuance of US$500 million senior perpetual capital securities by San Miguel Corporation under its US$3 billion medium term note and securities programme. San Miguel is one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines with interests in food, petroleum refining, power, infrastructure, real estate and banking, and its MTN programme is the first in the Philippines to allow for issuances of both fixed rate debt and perpetual capital securities.
- Vista Land. Advised DBS., HSBC, and Credit Suisse as dealers and joint lead managers in connection with the update of VLL International, Inc.’s US$2 billion medium term note programme and the issuance of US$200 million 7.25% notes due 2027 under the programme. VLL International, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc., one of the Philippines’ leading residential property developers.