Friday, August 13, 2010

Johnson & Johnson Debt at Record Low Rates

This Bloomberg article points out Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) sold over $ 1 billion of bonds at the lowest interest rates on record going back to 1981. These rates were on 10-year and 30-year debt.

10-year notes: 2.95 percent
30-year bonds: 4.5 percent

Back in the early 1980s, there were 60 non-financial U.S. companies with triple-A ratings according to Standard and Poor's. Today, there are only 4: Johnson & Johnson, Automatic Data Processing (ADP), Exxon (XOM), and Microsoft (MSFT). Many of the best franchises produce enough capital on their own to expand so the impact it will have on their cost of capital is limited.

Still, if rates continue to stay low some companies with less than triple-A ratings have the potential to build a foundation of lower cost capital. The foundation will be built over time as they roll over or take on new debt. Ultimately, it has the potential to provide some extra fuel to equity investor returns in the coming years.


Long JNJ, ADP, and MSFT

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