Why Apple is borrowing billions, despite a $200-billion cash pile - TechCentral

Why Apple is borrowing billions, despite a $200-billion cash pile

All that glitters is not … Apple

Apple, one of the most cash-rich companies in the world, is still looking to get a piece of the ultra-cheap money that’s up for grabs in the bond market.

With investment-grade bond yields hovering near record lows, it’s tempting even for Apple — with more than US$200-billion of cash and investment securities on its books — to see what investors will lend it. Turns out that number is $7-billion, or just over 3% of its current coffers.

With the 30-year treasury at record lows, many companies have been able to borrow more cheaply for much longer. Apple will pay around 2.99% interest on its new 30-year bonds, compared to the 3.45% it’s paying on three-decade bonds it sold in 2015. On a $1.5-billion issue, that equates to savings of nearly $7-million of interest annually, or more than $200-million over the course of three decades.

Today’s debt sale could help Apple refinance roughly $2-billion of debt that’s scheduled to mature this year in addition to much of the $10-billion it has coming due in 2020. The borrowing is profitable for the company’s shareholders by at least one measure: the company’s earnings yield, a measure of how much the company earns relative to its share price, is around 5.6%, while it can borrow for 30 years for less than 3%.

Apple’s not the only one seizing this golden opportunity. A record 21 US investment-grade companies tapped the market Tuesday, borrowing a combined $27-billion. With more than a dozen deals in the works on Wednesday, this week’s issuance is already set to hit $54-billion, comfortably surpassing dealer estimates of $40-billion.  — Reported by Molly Smith, with assistance from Luke Kawa, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP

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