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Best utilities borrower

United Utilities
The UK company's investor education programme has paid dividends

Fallon: Important to be known
across the major bond markets

With the five-year pricing reviews limiting debt issuance in the UK utility sector for most of 2004, it was no surprise to see United Utilities come to the market in force this year. In the first six weeks of 2005, United Utilities Water, a subsidiary of United Utilities, issued two opportunistic bonds in the euro and sterling markets. Both deals were impeccably timed and their success can largely be attributed to the company's dedicated investor education programme. "The company has been very committed to educating investors on not only its own credit but the UK water sector in general," says Robert Ritchie, head of UK corporate debt origination at UBS. "It gives them a massive competitive advantage when it comes to the markets, as investors are well acquainted with their credit story."  United Utilities has some of the most challenging capital expenditure requirements, so giving investors time to do their research is high on its agenda.

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