Macquarie Bank’s mortgage funding business Puma has priced the first low doc mortgage securitisation by an Australian issuer this year.

The $270 million Class A tranche of Puma Masterfund S-6 was rated AAA by Fitch Ratings and was sold to six investors. Pricing was 180 basis points over swap.

Pricing for the $30 million unrated Class B tranche was not disclosed.

Head of treasury in Macquarie’s banking and securitisation group, Kevin Stephenson, said demand was such that Puma was able to increase the size of the deal from $250 million.

Stephenson said there was now clear evidence that conditions in the securitisation market were improving, with issues by GMAC, Citibank and Macquarie in the past month. “There is positive sentiment,” he said.

Citigroup priced a $500 million securitisation, Securitised Australian Mortgage Trust 2008-1, at the end of May. The AAA-rated senior tranche of full doc loans was priced at 145 basis points over swap.

Stephenson could not say whether the issue would result in Macquarie increasing activity in the mortgage lending business.

The portfolio was made up of prime low doc and no doc loans. All loans were covered by lenders’ mortgage insurance policies provided by PMI and Genworth.

Credit enhancement was 10 per cent — much higher than required by the ratings agencies.

Macquarie, meanwhile, confirmed pricing on a refinancing of a pool of motor vehicle leases, hire purchase agreements and chattel mortgages through the Smart Series 2008 1E Trust.

Macquarie went to the market late in May looking to issue $650 million of notes but demand, most notably from Europe, pushed the final size of the issue up to $1.2 billion.

All tranches sold were rated AAA or A1+ (Macquarie retained the subordinated tranches). A $157 million A1+ tranche with a one-year legal life was priced at 80 basis points over one-month bank bills.

A $220 million tranche with an average term of 2.1 years sold for 145 points over bills, and 150 million and 300 million euro tranches sold for 125 points over Libor.

The Smart issue follows a $240 million auto receivable deal by St George and a $600 million deal by Bank of Queensland earlier this year.

An executive director in Macquarie Treasury, Adrian Bentley, said demand for auto paper was strong for several reasons.

“It is not tainted in the way mortgages are. The securities have shorter terms than mortgage securities, which suits investors at the moment.

“Investors are happy to spend some money but they want to diversify their exposure. There is very little auto paper around – none in the secondary market.”

The pricing of the Smart deal was inside the two other deals that have been done this year.

Macquarie was joint lead on all three deals. Other participants were HSBC, RBS and JP Morgan.

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