Firm advises on $200m bond issuance

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Ashurst has advised The Australian National University on the establishment of its medium term note program and major domestic 10-year debt issuance, worth $200m.

The transaction, which was completed in a tight timeframe, allows ANU to access the final issuance window of 2015.

The Australian National University will use the funds from the issue of notes to refinance existing facilities and swap arrangements to finance student accommodation.

“The transaction is significant as it is part of a sophisticated capital strategy for the ANU, encompassing all aspects of liability management and capital expenditure in respect of academic and student facilities so as to further enhance the University's delivery of academic services,” said lead partner on the deal, Jamie Ng.

Ng told Australasian Lawyer that the transaction is indicative of investor confidence in Australia’s higher education sector, which he said is showing continued growth.

“Couple this with the high credit ratings of the major Australian universities, including the ANU at AA+, it is a very good story for investors,” he said.
“This is particularly evident in the ANU's successful 10 year deal – at the outer boundaries of the credit curve for Australian corporate bond issuance.”

He said 2016 is likely to be another good year in the sector.

“We think we will see further interest in the debt capital markets from Australia's universities and potentially other higher education providers,” Ng said.

“This will include the Australian MTN market and also offshore markets such as the US private placement market. 

“It shows an increasingly sophisticated approach towards capital management to capture growth opportunities in the education sector and the need for Australian universities to sustainably deliver first class services and facilities in order to compete on an international scale.”

King & Wood Mallesons acted as counsel to dealers ANZ and NAB.
 

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