Convertible securities are becoming a popular vehicle among energy companies as a quick fix for Wall Street’s cash flow concerns in the wake of Enron’s bankruptcy. Williams announced its own program Friday, saying it plans this week to offer $1 billion in securities automatically convertible into company stock, as part of a previously announced plan to maintain the company’s investment-grade credit ratings.
The Williams announcement followed on one by Calpine Corp. that it has sold another $200 million in convertible debt, following up on a $1 billion sale of convertible equities in December.
The Williams securities, called Feline PACS, are expected to consist of publicly traded units that include a senior debt security and an equity purchase contract. The debt will have a term of five years, and the equity purchase contract will require the company to deliver Williams common stock to holders after three years at a previously agreed rate. The securities will be issued pursuant to Williams’ existing shelf registration statement on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Net proceeds of the offering will be used as part of a balance sheet strengthening plan announced on Dec. 19 to fund the company’s capital program, repay commercial paper and other short-term debt and for general corporate purposes. Additional information on the offering will be available by today, when the preliminary prospectus supplement is filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Calpine, meanwhile, said it has sold an additional $200 million of 4% convertible senior notes due 2006. The notes were issued in a private placement pursuant to an exercise by the initial purchaser of its option to acquire additional convertible senior notes. Calpine made the original $1 billion sale of convertible notes Dec. 19 to avert a liquidity crunch. These securities will be convertible into shares of Calpine common stock at a price of $18.07.
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