British American Tobacco agrees pioneering £6bn credit facility

British American Tobacco (BAT) has agreed a new £6 billion multi-currency revolving credit facility.
Greg Brown

© Leaders League

British American Tobacco (BAT) has agreed a new £6 billion multi-currency revolving credit facility.

The new facility, which replaces BAT’s existing £6 billion revolving credit facility, is provided by a syndicate of 21 banks, which includes co-ordinators Barclays Bank and HSBC.

A BAT statement said that, in anticipation of the cessation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), it is the first widely syndicated credit facility executed globally to be linked to both the Sterling Overnight Index Average (SONIA) and the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR).

The new facility, which consists of a £3 billion 364-day facility and a £3 billion five-year facility, is principally used for backstop liquidity purposes.

Barclays Bank and HSBC acted as joint co-ordinators for the facility. Allen & Overy acted as legal counsel for the banks. The Allen & Overy team included London-based partner Greg Brown (pictured), global head of banking know-how Fiona FitzGerald and associate Dominique Crowley. It also included New York partner Elizabeth Leckie and senior counsel Livia Talenti, as well as Amsterdam partner Femke Bierman, senior associate Karin Hoenson-van den Berg and paralegal Cobie Kuipers.

Herbert Smith Freehills acted as legal counsel for BAT. The Herbert Smith Freehills team was led by partner Will Nevin with support from senior associate Soumya Rao and associate Sarah Baldwin.

Neil Wadey, Group Head of Treasury at BAT, said: “I am delighted that BAT has been able to lead the transition to a post LIBOR environment with this broadly syndicated £6 billion facility. Supported by our bank group, this transaction has helped build new conventions for both SONIA and SOFR benchmarks, bringing clarity and certainty to our relationship with the loan market.”

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