Saga proves you can teach an old dog new tricks as it rejigs £550m debt pile to take advantage of "positive backdrop" to markets

Oliver Gill
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Saga cruised in with its debt announcement earlier this morning

Saga's customers maybe edging towards the autumn of their years, but the firm is looking beyond the near-term after pushing out the maturity of its lending.

The over-50s insurance and cruise company today announced it has rejigged £550m of debt that was due to be repaid in April 2019.

"Given the positive backdrop in the debt market, we have decided that this is a good time to refinance our facilities," the firm said in an announcement.

Read more: What a Saga! Dividends are up but shares are down

Saga launched its first ever corporate bond with a seven-year placing of £250m. Alongside this are a five-year £200m loan facility and a £100m revolving credit facility, similar to a corporate overdraft.

HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and Japanese bank Mizuho Bank provided the lending and arranged the bond launch.

Saga chief executive Jonathan Hill said: "We are pleased to have secured this refinancing which will strengthen the Group's balance sheet and provide us with additional flexibility, whilst further diversifying our debt structure. We thank our banks for their continued support."

Read more: Saga waves goodbye to EY after 10 years

The changes to the debt will cost the firm £4m. But this is an accounting adjustment rather than a cash cost to the firm.

The bonds will pay interest of 3.375 per cent. The firm said its overall level of indebtedness will not change.

The announcement comes as Saga upped its dividend in March after posting a 10 per cent increase in profits.

Shares in the London-listed firm were broadly flat in the wake of the news, trading slightly down at 212.40p.

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