UK electricity grid completes £500m refinancing

The capital markets appear to be open for business as regulated UK electricity distributor and network owner Electricity North West completes a £500m debt round.

Regulated UK electricity distributor and network owner Electricity North West (ENW) has completed a £500 million (€577 million; $821 million) refinancing of its existing debt.
ENW raised the finance through two separate debt programmes, including a £200 million bond issue at the ENW level and a £300 million secured debt programme at the level of ENW’s parent company, North West Electricity Networks. The bond issue was rated BBB+ (S&P) and A- (Fitch), while the secured debt programme was rated BBB (S&P) and BBB+ (Fitch).
The company said in a statement its new structure puts a robust long-term financing in place that will enable it to meet its commitments to customers and stakeholders in the run up to the upcoming fifth Distribution Price Control Review, which is set to commence in 2010. ENW added it intends to increase its investment in its electricity infrastructure in the north west of England during this period to address its aging asset base, injecting over £1 billion of funds.
ENW operates an electricity distribution network of 13,127 kilometres of overhead lines, 43,126 kilometres of underground cables and 38,332 transformers to around 2.3 million homes in the north west of England, serving Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cumbria and parts of Derbyshire and Cheshire.