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Capital Markets Moves: Centene, Principal

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Centene Corp. has priced an offering of $250 million in notes.

Centene, St. Louis (NYSE:CNC), a company that runs health plans for government agencies, will be selling the notes through a public offering.

The notes will be issued at 98.753% and bear interest at 5.75%, resulting in a Securitiesyield of 6.0%, the company says. The notes will mature June 1, 2017, and the first interest payment date will be Dec. 1, 2011.

Centene hopes to close on the offering around May 27.

Centene intends to use the offering proceeds to refinance notes that are due in 2014, pay off revolving credit facility bills and related fees and expenses, and use the remaining funds for general corporate purposes.

In other capital markets news, the board of Principal Financial Group Inc., Des Moines, Iowa (NYSE:PFG), has renewed the company’s authority to buy back up to $250 million of Principal’s outstanding common stock.

The Principal board first authorized the buyback program in 2007.

Principal may buy shares through the open market or through private transactions.

Principal was about 321 million shares of common stock outstanding. Shares have been selling for about $32 each. If Principal used all buyback authority immediately at current prices, it could reduce the amount of shares outstanding by about 2% to 3%.

- Allison Bell

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