The principal method of issuing French government securities since 1985 has been the “bid price system” (referred to in France “à la hollandaise”). Nowadays bank syndication is used only in special circumstances.
Bid price auctions
Participants compete in the auction on an equal footing through a transparent system of open bidding according to a planned issuance programme. The bid price system consists of supplying securities at the bid price or the effective bid rate as opposed to the marginal price or rate. This type of auction is known as an “auction with several prices and sealed prices”. The highest bids are served first, followed by lower bids and so on, up to AFT’s target amount. Participants whose bids are served pay different prices, precisely reflecting their bids.
• Auction announcements: for BTFs, AFT announces one business day prior to auction the exact amount of the securities to be issued, in accordance with the quarterly calendar for BTFs. For OATs and BTANs, AFT announces four days prior to auction the securities concerned and an upper and lower limit.
• The running of auctions: bids from participants (primary dealers) may be sent to the Banque de France up to the time of the auction (10.50am for auctions of medium- and long-term OATs, 11.50am for auctions of inflation-indexed securities, 2.50pm for auctions of BTFs). The Banque de France delivers the bids to AFT withholding the names of the bidders. AFT then determines the amount to be allocated on each security and reserves the right to scale down bids to the lowest accepted price (OATs and BTANs) or rate (BTFs) on a pro-rata basis.
• Publication of prices:auction results are immediately announced to the bidders and displayed on the specialised agencies’ screens. They set out the quantities requested, the quantities served, the marginal price for each security (or marginal rate for the BTFs) and the weighted average rate for the various securities auctioned.
Bought deals, which are another issuance technique, are usually conducted by syndication. This is a specific commitment between banks (bidders forming a banking syndicate) and the issuer to buy securities for a price agreed to with the latter. The procedure is used to launch innovative securities and on less deep market segments, particularly on the long end of the yield curve (15 years and more).
List of syndications since 2010:
• 24 January 2017 : syndication of the green OAT 1.75 % 25 June 2039
• 28 September 2016 : syndication of the OAT€i 0.1 % 25 July 2047
• 13 April 2016 : syndication of the OAT 1.25% 25 May 2036 and of the OAT 1.75% 25 May 2066
• 11 June 2014: syndication of the OAT€i 0.70% July 25, 2030
• 26 March 2013: syndication of the OAT 3.25% May 25, 2045
• 9 February 2011: syndication of the OAT€i 1.85% July 25,2027
• 10 March 2010: syndication of the OAT 4.00% April 25, 2060