Last week was a busy one in the U.S. bond market with nearly $40 billion in new issues. According to Reuters' bond calendar, 18 issuers tapped the markets for more than a billion dollars


Last Week's Debt Issue
($ million)

Altria (NYSE: MO) $2,800
PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) $2,500
UBS $2,000
Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE: EPD) $1,750
Celgene (Nasdaq: CELG) $1,500
Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) $1,500
Community Health Systems $1,250
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners $1,250
Time Warner Cable $1,250
Westpac Banking $1,250
Charter Communications $1,250
SandRidge Energy $1,100
Baxter $1,000
Procter & Gamble $1,000
Prudential $1,000
Tennessee Valley Authority $1,000
Iron Mountain $1,000
ServiceMaster $1,000

Source: Reuters, SEC filings and corporate press releases.

Here's what a few of the bigger borrowers plan to do with all that money.

Altria will use the money "for the repayment or repurchase of certain of our debt," which will "reduce the weighted average coupon rate and future interest expense of our consolidated debt." The company is basically refinancing its debt with cheaper money.

Pepsi is also using the money to pay down other debt, in its case, commercial paper.

Paying down debt was a popular theme last week. Enterprise Products Partners subsidiary Enterprise Products Operating LLC is using its new cash pipeline to pump down the balance on a revolving credit facility.

Celgene's new dose of cash will be used for "further development of Celgene's clinical and pre-clinical programs, capital expenditures, general corporate development activities and meeting working capital needs."

Sprint showed the difference between the yield on top quality paper and high yield or junk. The coupon rate on its eight-year offering was a whopping 7%. The new money will be used for "redemptions or service requirements of outstanding debt, network expansion and modernization and potential funding of Clearwire Corporation and its subsidiary Clearwire Communications LLC."

Kinder Morgan Partners is using its new money gusher to purchase pipeline interests from Kinder Morgan.

Companies don't appear to be having any trouble issuing bonds, especially companies with decent credit ratings. Bond issues are rarely exciting and they don't get the press of a big IPO or acquisition announcement, but it's important for investors to keep tabs on the borrowing habits of companies they own and what those companies are doing with the money.

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