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ABInBev in $13 bln loan refinance talks

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, is talking to close relationship banks about refinancing $13 billion of loans, banking sources said.

The deal could be one of the biggest syndicated loans of the year.

Proceeds will refinance the remainder of $54.8 billion of loans that paid for ABInBev's $52 billion merger with US brewer Anheuser-Busch in 2008 with three and five-year maturities, one of the sources said.

ABInBev has already refinanced most of the $54.8 billion of loans raised to pay for the merger bond issues and disposals which totaled $17.2 billion in December 2009.

In December, ABInBev said a $13 billion tranche C which matures in November 2011 had been reduced to $5.2 billion, and a $13 billion D tranche maturing in November 2013 had been reduced to $12 billion.

Highly-rated blue-chip borrowers like Henkel and Philips are taking advantage of lower loan pricing and longer five-year loan tenors to cut borrowing costs and stretch the maturity of their debt.

ABInBev is rated BBB+ by Standard & Poor's and Baa2 by Moody's.

BBB/Baa2 rated Telecom Italia recently closed a €1.25 billion, three-year financing which pays 130 basis points over EURIBOR, compared to ABInBev's 175 basis points margin on its existing loan, according to Thomson Reuters data.

ABInBev was not available to comment. (Reuters)