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Falling for corporates

The love affair between increasingly yield-hungry European investors and corporate borrowers is becoming ever more passionate. Their sweet nothings include high yield bonds, convertibles, exchangeables and dealer remarketable securities. Rebecca Bream checks out some of the hottest dates in the market.

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Corporate finance in Europe is about to get a lot more interesting. Gone are the days when companies would rely just on loans from their relationship banks. The European corporate debt market is becoming big enough and liquid enough to lure many companies away from bank funding. It is also developing more variety with sophisticated hybrid structures to suit all types and sizes of businesses. Corporates are using this and other alternative funding channels to manage their balance sheets more effectively and extend their investor base beyond the old coterie of banks.

At the high-grade end of the market, issuance is booming as a growing number of US corporates launch bond deals in European currencies in a strategic move to establish an investor base before Emu. Deutschmark issues have proved enormously popular with big US corporates (see box on TMCC), as well as the odd UK company wanting to be euro-friendly despite their country's exclusion from the first round of Emu. On July 10 the finance arm of UK conglomerate BAT announced a Dm1 billion ($560 million) eight-year deal with Dresdner Kleinwort Benson as bookrunner.

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