Associated British Ports (ABP) has secured consent from investors to switch the interest benchmark underpinning its £65m ($82.7m) floating rate notes due 2022.
At a meeting in London bondholders gave their consent to switch from the scandal-tainted Libor to the sterling overnight interbank average rate (Sonia).
ABP has exposure to Libor across a range of financial instruments and this consent is the first of its kind for the UK market as organisations start transitioning to new benchmarks, according to law firm Linklaters, which has been advising ABP on the transition.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has indicated that it will not use its powers to persuade or compel banks to submit contributions for Libor after the end of 2021.
Work is therefore underway to transition away from Libor and towards risk-free rates across financial markets globally, said Linklaters.
In the UK, the working group on Sterling risk-free rates has chosen Sonia as the preferred alternative risk-free rate for Sterling.
The Working Group, together with the wider market, is developing market conventions for Sonia-linked bonds.
“This is an important transaction as we start to see borrowers planning their transition away from Libor,” said Linklaters partner Mark Nuttall.
“It’s not a straightforward process and the industry is working hard to find solutions to address the concerns about how the alternatives may work.”