In the current interest rate environment, the demand for interest
rate hedges for longer-term financings remains high. On the other hand,
short to medium term interest rate hedges are relatively rare. Many
variably financed companies do not use supplementary hedging instruments
such as interest rate swaps, interest rate caps or tailor-made
solutions in these instances.
The main arguments put forward against interest rate hedging in the
current environment are mostly a) the costs involved and b) the limited
flexibility. In terms of costs, the last few months have provided
further relief regarding the absolute level of interest rates. However,
the interest spread of the swap rate over the Euribor or the cap premium
to be paid become particularly relevant when the second argument
regarding flexibility is given high importance.
In the case of a planned investment project, if there is still
uncertainty about the amount of debt capital to be variably financed, it
will be difficult to convince the client to hedge its interest rate
risk at an early stage, even if interest rates are favourable. In these
cases, an ideal solution would be a strategy in which the level of
protection is already determined today, but the volume remains
adjustable over time.
With the “Forward-Swap with flexible notional” or “Flexi-Swap”, the
current Geistesblitz represents an attractive opportunity for companies
to reduce their interest rate risk of a rising 3-month Euribor starting
in one year for five years. With this strategy the client does not lose
his full flexibility today.
Market Overview (September 20th 2019):
5-year Swap (client’s rate):
- 5-year Swap (Start in 1 year):
The following chart shows the performance of the 3-month Euribor and the 5-year swap rate over the last 5 years.
Forward-Swap with flexible notional: „Flexi-Swap“
Your client has a financing requirement starting in one year over the
following five years. Today he anticipates the financing requirement to
be EUR 5 million. The interest payments will be based on the 3-month
Euribor plus financing margin.
On the one hand, your client wishes to take advantage of the very low
interest rate level by concluding a fixed-rate swap fixing the interest
rate for the given period today.
On the other hand, there is high
uncertainty whether he is going to call the funds as planned and to what
extent he will repay the borrowed funds in the future. Yet, the client
expects the actual utilisation to be between 50% and 100% of the
notional (or EUR 2.5 to 5.0 million).
For the hedge, the client does not want to pay a premium. However, he
is prepared to pay a fixed rate above the alternative swap rate in
favour of the required combination of security and flexibility. These
objectives are reflected in the “Flexi-Swap”.
Indicative terms and conditions:
- Notional: 5,0 Mio. EUR
- Maturity: 5 years, starting in one year
- Payments: quarterly, act/360
- Client receives: 3-month Euribor
- Client pays: 0,00% p.a.
- Notional adjustment.: With each interest period the client
has the right to reduce the notional amount to at least EUR 2.5
Benefits and risks from a client perspective:
- Your client locks in a fixed interest rate of 0.00% p.a. (plus
financing margin) for his 5-year, variable financing requirement
starting in one year.
At the beginning of each interest period your client is able to adjust
the notional flexibly in a range between 50% and 100% (respectively 2.5
to 5.0 Mio. EUR).
- If the 3-month Euribor undercuts 0.00%, your client has the
possibility to tactically utilize the notional adjustments. In the
amount of the unhedged position he can participate in negative interest
- Your customer does not have to pay a premium for this flexibility; it is already included in the interest rate of 0.00% p.a.
- The fixed rate of 0.00% p.a. is above the alternative 5-year rate
(-0.33% p.a.) as well as the alternative 5-year forward rate (-0.30%
- Your client cannot participate in negative interest rate fixings of the 3-month Euribor with at least 50% of the notional.
In a nutshell
The new Geistesblitz “Forward-Swap with flexible Notional“ or
„Flexi-Swap“ shows your client the historically attractive opportunity
to utilize a forward hedge at 0.00% p.a. without having to accept a full
loss of flexibility. Depending on the actual extent of your clients
future financing requirements, your client can reduce the notional of
the current interest period by up to 50%. No premium has to be paid for