Equinor Raises $3.9 Bln in the Bond Market
Norwegian oil company Equinor raised $3.4 billion in euro and dollar bonds on Monday, in its latest push to secure long-term funding at a time of weak crude prices.
"In the current volatile market situation characterised by high uncertainty going forward, we see the value in further increasing our financial flexibility and resilience," Chief Financial Officer Lars Christian Bacher said in a statement.
Initial issues of a six-year 750 million euro ($819 million) bond and a 12-year 1 billion euro bond earlier on Monday were followed shortly after by two U.S. dollar tranches of $750 million each, with maturities of six and 10 years.
"The net proceeds from the issue of the Notes will be used for general corporate purposes, which may include the repayment or purchase of existing debt, or other purposes," Equinor said.
The new bonds follow last month's $5 billion debt sale in which maturities ranged from five to 30 years.
Equinor has taken a range of steps in recent weeks to preserve cash, including the indefinite postponement of a $5 billion share buyback programme and cuts to operating costs and investment of about $3 billion.
It also slashed its quarterly dividend by two thirds, blaming low oil prices amid the new coronavirus outbreak for the first cut in its payout since the financial crisis.
The 2026 euro bonds pay interest of 0.75% while the 2032 euro issue comes with a 1.375% coupon. The two dollar bonds carry a yield of 1.75% and 2.375% for the 2026 and 2030 issues respectively.
Equinor's net debt ratio, or gearing, stood at 25.8% at the end of the first quarter, two percentage points higher than in the previous quarter.
($1 = 0.9162 euros)
(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Terje Solsvik, David Clarke and Tom Brown)