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CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-GE launches $7 billion sale of debt

Monday, 1 Oct 2012 | 2:06 PM ET

(Corrects date of US elections)

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 6 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)

((christopher.reich@thomsonreuters.com)(1-646-223-6342)(Reuters

Messaging: christopher reich.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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