Contract risks and credit spread determinants in the international project bond market
International bond markets have become an increasingly important source of long-term capital for infrastructure projects in emerging market economies over the past decade. The Ras Laffan Liquified Natural Gas (Ras Gas) project represents a milestone in this respect: its $1.2 billion bond offering, completed in December 1996, has been the largest for any international project. The Ras Gas project has the right to extract, process, and sell liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a field off the shore of Qatar. The principal off-taker is the Korea Gas Corporation (Kogas), which resells most of the LNG to the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) for electricity generation. In this clinical study the authors analyze the determinants of credit spreads for the Ras Gas project in terms of its contractual structure, with a view to better understanding the role of contract design in facilitating access to the global project bond market. Market risk perceptions have long been recognized to be a function of firm-specific variables, particularly asset value as embodied in contracts. The authors therefore study the impact of three interlocking contracts on the credit spreads of the project's actively traded global bonds: the 25-year output sales and purchase agreement with Kogas-Kepco, the international bond covenant, and an output price-contingent debt service guarantee by Mobil to debt holders. Using a sample of daily data from January 1997 to March 2000, the authors find that the quality of the off-taker's credit-and, more important, the market's assessment of the off-taker's economic prospects-drive project bond credit spreads and pricing. In addition, seemingly unrelated events in emerging debt markets spill over to project bond markets and affect risk perceptions and prices in this segment. Judicious use of an output price-contingent debt service guarantee by shareholders can significantly reduce project risks, and markets reward issuers through tighter credit spreads. Bondholders and shareholders share residual risks over time, despite covenants meant to preempt risk shifting. This type of risk shifting originates from incomplete contracts and the nonrecourse nature of project finance. It does not necessarily result from a deliberate attempt by management to increase shareholder value at the expense of debt holders by pursuing high-risk, low-value activities, although project managers and shareholders could still exploit their informational advantages by leaving output supply contracts incomplete in ways beneficial to their private interests. The results hold important lessons for global project finance. Projects incorporating certain design features can reap significant financial gains through lower borrowing costs and longer debt maturities: Judicious guarantees by parents that enjoy a particular hedging advantage enhance a project's appeal, as reflected in favorable pricing. Pledging receivables rather than physical assets as collateral and administering investor cash flows through an off-shore account offers additional security to debt holders. Projects should use their liability structure to create an implicit option on future private debt financing that matches the real option of a project expansion. The finding that bondholders bear residual risks means that shareholders can reduce their risks arising from bilateral monopolies and buy insurance against unforeseen and unforeseeable events.
|Date of creation:||30 Nov 2001|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Benjamin C. Estry, 1999. "Petrozuata: A Case Study Of The Effective Use Of Project Finance," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 12(3), pages 26-42.
- Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972.
"Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-95, December.
- Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Steven N. Kaplan & Richard S. Ruback, 1994.
"The Valuation of Cash Flow Forecasts: An Empirical Analysis,"
NBER Working Papers
4724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kaplan, Steven N & Ruback, Richard S, 1995. " The Valuation of Cash Flow Forecasts: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1059-93, September.
- Shah, Salman & Thakor, Anjan V., 1987.
"Optimal capital structure and project financing,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 209-243, August.
- Longstaff, Francis A & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1995. " A Simple Approach to Valuing Risky Fixed and Floating Rate Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(3), pages 789-819, July.
- James G. MacKinnon, 1992.
"Approximate Asymptotic Distribution Functions for Unit Roots and Cointegration Tests,"
861, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
- MacKinnon, James G, 1994. "Approximate Asymptotic Distribution Functions for Unit-Root and Cointegration Tests," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(2), pages 167-76, April.
- Luigi Zingales, 2000.
"In Search of New Foundations,"
CRSP working papers
515, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
- Campbell, John & Perron, Pierre, 1991.
"Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomists Should Know about Unit Roots,"
3374863, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- John Y. Campbell & Pierre Perron, 1991. "Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomists Should Know About Unit Roots," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 141-220 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Campbell, J.Y. & Perron, P., 1991. "Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomics should know about unit roots," Papers 360, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
- John Y. Campbell & Pierre Perron, 1991. "Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomists Should Know About Unit Roots," NBER Technical Working Papers 0100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Fama, Eugene F, 1990. "Contract Costs and Financing Decisions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(1), pages S71-91, January.
- Smith, Clifford Jr. & Warner, Jerold B., 1979. "On financial contracting : An analysis of bond covenants," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 117-161, June.
- John, Kose, 1987. " Risk-Shifting Incentives and Signalling through Corporate Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(3), pages 623-41, July.
- Cox, Don R & Peterson, David R, 1994. " Stock Returns Following Large One-Day Declines: Evidence on Short-Term Reversals and Longer-Term Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(1), pages 255-67, March.
- Madan, Dilip & Unal, Haluk, 2000. "A Two-Factor Hazard Rate Model for Pricing Risky Debt and the Term Structure of Credit Spreads," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(01), pages 43-65, March.
- Chemmanur, Thomas J. & John, Kose, 1996.
"Optimal Incorporation, Structure of Debt Contracts, and Limited-Recourse Project Financing,"
Journal of Financial Intermediation,
Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 372-408, October.
- Chemmanur, T.J. & John, K., 1991. "Optimal Incorporation, Structure of Debt Contracts , and Limited-recourse Project Financing," Papers fb-_91-08, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
- Gregory R. Duffee, 1996. "Treasury yields and corporate bond yield spreads: an empirical analysis," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-20, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Richard A. Brealey & Ian A. Cooper & Michel A. Habib, 1996. "Using Project Finance To Fund Infrastructure Investments," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 9(3), pages 25-39.
- Green, Richard C., 1984. "Investment incentives, debt, and warrants," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 115-136, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2712. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.