(Adds company confirmation of issuance, expectations for sale and future financing opportunities)
By Jorge Otaola
BUENOS AIRES, March 8 (Reuters) - Argentine real estate firm IRSA will sell a new international seven-year bond worth up to $360 million to finance the buyback of existing debt and could accelerate financing plans for shopping mall developments if rates are attractive, the company said on Tuesday.
Chief Financial Officer Matias Gaivironsky said he would kick off a road show in the United States on Wednesday and that meetings would also be held with investors in European capitals ahead of a planned sale on March 17.
The bond will be issued by IRSA Commercial Properties , a unit of IRSA which owns and operates some of the capital Buenos Aires’ biggest shopping malls, to buy back debt maturing in 2017 and 2020.
“We’re not sure what rate we’ll pay. We’ll have a better idea after talking with investors,” Gaivironsky said in an interview.
Business leaders anticipate borrowing costs will fall in the months ahead after Argentina reached a deal with creditors holding defaulted sovereign bonds, paving the way for an end to the government’s festering 14-year legal fight with bondholders.
Lawmakers still need to approve the sovereign debt deal.
“We see growing investor interest and demand in Argentina. We want to be the first corporate bond to hit the market,” Gaivironsky said, moments before the government’s debt deal cleared its first hurdle in Congress.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup Inc and local brokerage Puente will be lead managers of the new issuance, which will be used to cancel out debts on three existing bonds.
IRSA Commercial Properties last week launched a tender to buy back all the $150 million of outstanding 8.5 percent 2017 bonds and all the $120 million of 7.7875 percent 2017 bonds. It is also targeting up to $76.5 million of 11.5 percent 2020 securities, with an option to increase that amount further.
Gaivironsky said that roughly two-thirds of that debt was held by the controlling company and the remaining third by outside creditors.
“The idea is that we will be left with a single, more liquid bond that will trade internationally,” Gaivironsky said.
Gaivironsky said IRSA Commercial Properties held land which it was ready to develop into new shopping malls.
“We have big expansion plans. If there are good financing opportunities we could accelerate our financing plans.” (Additional reporting and writing by Richard Lough; Editing by W Simon and Lisa Shumaker)