Axa releases largest single-tranche CDO

The deal, arranged by JP Morgan Chase, was issued in five currencies – Swiss francs, sterling, dollars, euros and yen. It offers investors the possibility to receive fixed, floating and inflation-linked coupons, across a range of rated tranches and with bullet maturities of either five or seven years.

Aria closes this Friday and has 25 different tranches, referencing a portfolio of some 140 corporate names. It was designed with the intention of attracting a broad investor base across Europe, following the success of the Overture deal, released by Axa last November, and also arranged by JP Morgan Chase. The Overture deal hit the headlines last year as the largest CDO released into the European market and the first to be distributed on a syndicated basis, rather than being underwritten by a single investment bank.

Like Overture, Aria was globally syndicated by a team of banks: Royal Bank of Scotland in the UK, Gulf International Bank in the Middle East, Mizuho Securities in Japan, Natexis Banques Populaires in France and the Korean Development Bank. This, said the arrangers, has allowed the deal to gain greater global access to investors, with around 60 different investors in 15 countries. And also, with more institutions analysing the underlying bonds, investors can be more confident of their credit quality than with other CDOs.

The arrangers said Aria was released partly to meet the excess demand for the Overture CDO, which had seen some of the more senior tranches up to nine times over-subscribed.

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