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May 7, 2021

Corus Entertainment is watching for windows in high-yield market

John Zechner discusses Corus Entertainment


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Corus Entertainment Inc., which has produced shows led by actors such as Christopher Plummer, plans to take an opportunistic approach to U.S. and Canadian high-yield bond markets after a recent debt sale fetched strong investor demand, Chief Financial Officer John Gossling said.

The Toronto-based based firm sold $500 million of seven-year unsecured bonds April 26 in the company’s first such deal since 2013. Proceeds are being used to reduce bank credit facilities, which are in the process of getting extended to May 2025, he said.

“With the bond and the bank deal having now a four-year term on it, we are pretty comfortable, so we don’t need to do anything, but I think we would be opportunistic,” Gossling said in a video interview. “We would think about doing something, could be in the U.S., could be in Canada.”

Corus, which operates 33 specialty television services, 39 radio stations and 15 conventional television stations across Canada, saw orders from 54 investors amount to about two times the deal’s size. Priced at par, the notes are quoted at around 101 Canadian cents on the dollar, according to Bloomberg Valuation bid prices.

Last month’s issuance prompted S&P to upgrade the secured bank debt to BBB-, its lowest investment-grade level. Because of lower levels of senior secured claims in the recovery waterfall, the ratings company said the recovery prospects for the senior secured debtholders should improve to 95 per cent from 85 per cent.

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While the company’s focus is to continue reducing debt ratios, it remains open to considering small so-called tuck-in transactions to expand, said Gossling.

“One of our strategies is to get bigger in the content production business,” he said. “So there could be smaller things that we could do there, but we’re not looking to do any kind of major acquisition.”

While the transaction could be in North America, Gossling said their preference would be Canada.

Regarding the environmental, social and governance issues, the company is looking into putting together and reporting various measures either being or planned to be carried out. Regarding ESG disclosures, it may become a requirement over time, not only to issue a green bond but to sell any bond, he said.