Delhaize announced today that it commenced a tender offer for cash prior to maturity of up to € 300m aggregate principal amount of its outstanding 5.625% Senior Notes due 2014, plus accrued and unpaid interest and premium amounts.
The purpose of the offer is to manage the debt maturity profile. The offer is being made only outside the US.
In combination with the offer, Delhaize intends to issue new fixed rate notes.
The group has significantly improved its debt structure over the past few years. The group has a strong balance sheet with a net debt/equity ratio of 49% at the end of 2011 despite last year’s acquisition of Delta Maxi. Net debt reached € 2,647m. The group aims to maintain its investment grade credit rating which currently stands at BBB-(stable outlook) at S&P and Baa3 (stable outlook) at Moody’s.
We maintain our Accumulate rating.