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Participating Interest Rate Swap

What is a Participating Swap?

A Participating Interest Rate Swap is a derivative instrument that combines an Interest Rate Swap with an Interest Rate Cap. A portion of the debt is hedged with a Swap and the remainder with a Cap. The degree of participation is determined by the proportion attributable to the Cap. The Cap premium is embedded in the Swap rate eliminating the cost. The embedded Swap rate and the Cap strike rate are set at the same level.

Objectives

The purpose of such a hedge is to provide the Borrower with protection against rising short-term interest rates and the ability to benefit from a drop in rates.

How does it work?

On the reset date, if the floating rate (for example three month LIBOR) is below the strike rate, then the Borrower will pay the fixed rate of interest in return for a floating rate of interest on the portion covered by the Swap. On the capped portion, the Borrower will pay the floating rate subject to a maximum determined by the Cap. If the floating rate is above the strike rate, the Borrower receives the difference between the fixed rate and the floating rate on both the swapped and capped portions of the debt, establishing a maximum cost of funds at the strike rate of the Participating Swap.

Advantages
  • The Borrower receives the comfort of a known maximum rate of interest on 100% of the hedged debt
  • The Borrower can benefit from lower floating rates
  • The strategy provides the Borrower with greater flexibility in managing cash flows
  • There is no upfront premium
Disadvantages
  • A Participating Swap Rate will be higher than the market swap rate
  • If the floating rate fails to rise above the Cap strike rate during the tenor of the Cap, the Borrower may feel they received no value
  • Potential termination costs are payable on the swapped portion of the debt should the hedge be terminated early in a low rate environment

Participating Interest Rate Swap example:

 

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