(Bloomberg) -- Italian confectioner Ferrero SpA raised more than $1 billion in dollar-equivalent high-grade private debt to refinance part of its bank loans, people familiar with the matter said.

The maker of brands including Nutella spreads and Ferrero Rocher chocolates will use the funds to replace part of the €2 billion ($2.2 billion) it borrowed from lenders when it acquired US ice cream business Wells Enterprises toward the end of last year, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information is private.

Bank of America Corp. and BNP Paribas SA arranged the transaction for Ferrero. The deal is split into euro and dollar-denominated debt and sold at maturities ranging between seven and 12 years.

Spokespeople for Ferrero, Bank of America and BNP Paribas declined to comment.

Read more: High-Grade Private Debt Thrives as More Big Deals Come to Market

Placing high-grade debt privately allows high-grade firms to tap investors directly, thereby bypassing public credit markets rendered more volatile by central banks raising interest rates to tame inflation. 

A variety of borrowers have tapped the market in the last year or so including Thames Water Utilities Ltd., the UK’s London School of Economics and Permira Holdings.

(Updates with a decline to comment from BNP in fourth graph)

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