RBS ‘offers to pay off $6.4bn debt’

Royal Bank of Scotland has offered to buy back up to $6.4 billion of bonds — effectively paying off debt — as it seeks to cut its funding costs amid its downsizing.

RBS is keen to buy back bonds it sold from 2009 to 2011, when its borrowing costs were higher due to the global financial crisis, Bloomberg reported.

The purchase prices will be decided next week and they will “reflect a yield to maturity” to compensate bondholders for cashing out now, RBS said.

For RBS, the long-term reduction in interest payments could outweigh the costs involved with the buybacks.

RBS said it “intends to manage its overall liability composition and mix for value” and that it “considers future interest expense with reference to its balance sheet whilst maintaining a prudent approach to liquidity and costs.”

Bloomberg reported that because the notes to be bought back were issued by RBS’s operating unit, the buyback could result in a sale of new bonds by the holding company to meet new global capital rules.

The buybacks would cover bonds denominated in dollars, sterling and euros, according to two statements from RBS.