(ADDS deal details, analyst comment)
By Christopher Reich
NEW YORK, Oct 1 (IFR) - General Electric launched a $7 billion sale of notes on Monday, taking advantage of prevailing low rates in what will be the third-largest sale of corporate debt in the US so far this year.
The Aa3/AA+ rated company is offering three-year, 10-year and 30-year notes to repay debt, including all or part of $5 billion of 5% notes due 2013, as well as for general corporate purposes.
GE price guidance is for the three-year notes to price at Treasuries plus about 55 basis points (bps), the 10-year at T+110bps and the 30-year at T+135 basis points.
Pricing is expected later on Monday. Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley are the joint bookrunners.
It is the third-largest deal so far in what has been an extremely active year in the US high-grade bond market, behind a $7.5 billion deal from Anheuser-Busch InBev and a $9.8 billion trade from United Technologies .
Corporations have been rushing to market ahead of the US presidential election on November 7 and the so-called "fiscal cliff" the country faces at the end of the calendar year.
They have also been taking advantage of near-record low rates for raising funds. September was the biggest month of US investment-grade issuance of the year, with more than $115.7 billion in deals.
"Given its strong cash-flow generating ability, GE is a relatively infrequent issuer in the market," Thomas Myhre, vice president at Morningstar, said in a note.
He said the company had a "solid foundation for sustainable profitability".
(Reporting By Christopher Reich; Writing by Marc Carnegie and Ciara Linnane)
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