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Western Europe - Best corporate investment-gradeborrower

BHP Billiton

There have been some excellent one-off transactions in the European corporate investment-grade market in the past 12 months. German energy group E.On's blockbuster multi-tranche deal last May, the largest ever from a European corporate, is an obvious example. Olivetti's e400 million 30-year portion of its e3 billion multi-tranche deal in January, the first corporate euro-denominated 30-year deal, is also worthy of note. But finding a more consistently successful issuer is more challenging, particularly with the volatile market conditions that have typified much of this period. "Over the past 12 months, there has been a tendency for issuers to do one large, multi-tranche transaction while market conditions were good," says a syndicate banker. "There's not many that have had a steady borrowing programme." Of the corporate frequent issuers in the market, none has consistently shone.

However, with its first transactions as a merged entity, the UK and Australia headquartered natural resources company BHP Billiton managed to shine twice. It established two highly successful liquid benchmarks in two currencies.

The first deal issued from the company's newly established EMTN platform at the beginning of October last year was not only a great success for the company but a confidence boost for the European corporate market as a whole.

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