Whitehaven Coal secures massive refinancing facility

Whitehaven Coal has secured a $1.4 billion senior secured bank facility.

The miner's refinancing is fully underwritten and provided by a syndicate of Australian and international banks.

Like many of the miners re-examining their current debt facilities, Whitehaven stated that the new facility is designed to replace the previous facility with a lower interest rate and increased headroom.

However the majority of miners are going to the market to find more cash, or using a mixture of offerings combined with the refinancing of their existing facilities.

Earlier this month Fortescue carried out a a senior secured debt issue and a offer to holders of its unsecured notes to tender their existing notes for repurchase to raise US$2.5 billion, and announced plans to extend its debt by extending the maturity of its existing US$4.9 billion senior secured credit facility, which means its debt will now mature beyond mid-2021.

Fellow iron ore miners Rio Tinto and BHP have both carried out notes offerings, share buybacks, and bond offerings in an effort to gain greater control of their own capital. 

Last month Rio Tinto announced a $500 million share buyback as part of its wider $2 billion capital return program.

However it is not just iron ore looking to refinance their positions, as coal miners Peabody Energy and Yancoal plan a US$1 billion notes offering and a $2.8 billion capital notes offering respectively.

Like most miners Whitehaven will use the new facility to keep the company above water in the current market downturn.

"The new facility's $1.2 billion drawable line of credit is for general corporate purposes and has a maturity date of July 2019," Whitehaven said in a company statement.

Whitehaven CEO Paul Flynn welcomed the new facility.

"We are delighted with the support we have received for this flexible, low cost facility," he said.

"It demonstrates Whitehaven's improved creditworthiness and the increased confidence that lenders have in our growth plans and in our capacity to execute them ahead of expectations".

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