The AGL Energy Limited (ASX: AGL) share price continues to trade around all-time lows as the end of 2021 inches closer. Though, the energy giant is getting ready for a fresh new look in the year to come. This will take shape in the form of the company’s planned demerger.
Between now and then, AGL is believed to be looking at ways of getting some more cash onboard. Considering the impacted profitability and free cash flow, additional capital will be needed to help the two demerged businesses in meeting their expenses.
For this reason, rumour has it that AGL Energy is looking at tapping the United States bond market for $500 million.
Where can you find a spare $500 million?
Ahead of the creation of AGL Australia and Accel Energy, sources suggest AGL is chasing $500 million.
Business changes usually come at a cost. Whether that involves restructures, acquisitions, or — in this case — demergers. Although, the main concern for the company seems to be the reasonably high level of debt.
According to reports, AGL Energy is looking overseas to the United States to put its balance sheet in better order. The Australian energy company is rumoured to be seeking $500 million through the US bond market. A number of investment banks including Bank of America, JPMorgan, and Citi are said to be on board with assisting in the deal.
It appears the energy retailer is not exploring an equity raise as an alternative. This idea was shot down by AGL chair Peter Botten in the company’s annual general meeting. Others have noted the difficulty that AGL might have had if it did opt for a capital raise given the weakness in AGL shares.
Furthermore, the rumoured deal is understood to be a part of the company’s debt refinancing. Although, some onlookers are concerned about increased debt levels.
Company debt was around $3.06 billion at the end of June 2021. Whereas, AGL’s equity came in at $5.5 billion — giving the business a debt to equity ratio of 55.6%. Above 40% is considered to be relatively high for a company.
AGL shares under pressure
It has been nothing but pain for AGL shareholders since April 2017, when the company reached an all-time high of ~$27 per share. Since then, it has been a bumpy ride to the downside as increased environmental scrutiny has plagued the energy provider.
Simultaneously, an uprising in renewable assets has pressured the wholesale price of electricity. In turn, AGL’s operations have been feeling a pinch. Both revenue and earnings have been in decline since mid-2020 as the company ploughs money into transitioning its business.
Finally, on a year-to-date basis, AGL shares have fallen 56%. For context, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is up 10% over the same period.