AstraZeneca raises $2bn in first dollar bond sale for five years

Michael Bow
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DRUG giant AstraZeneca yesterday said it had tapped the bond markets for $2bn (£1.3bn), with $1bn of this borrowed for seven years with an interest rate of 1.95 per cent – in its first dollar-denominated sale for five years.

The company also placed a further $1bn for 30 years on an interest rate of four per cent, making the total issue of $2bn one of the biggest amounts borrowed this year by an investment grade US company.

The FTSE 100 company said $1.75bn of the cash borrowed from investors will be put towards refinancing its debt.

The other $250m has been earmarked for general corporate purposes, such as buying equal governance rights over Amylin Pharmaceuticals, the firm AstraZeneca’s collaborative partner Bristol-Myers Squibb purchased at the end of June.

The firm has $10.6bn of debt, over 30 per cent of its capital structure, according to Morningstar data.

Rating agency Moody’s is expected to give the bonds an A1 rating, equivalent to a negative outlook. Standard & Poor’s is expected to rate the bonds AA-, with a stable outlook.