Caring about each drop
Anglian Water is the largest water and water recycling company in England and Wales by geographic area, supplying water and water recycling services to almost seven million people in the East of England and Hartlepool.
The company, the only one in its industry to achieve ISO standards in quality, environment and health and safety, has invested £100 million in drinking water quality over the last five years alone, aiming to be among the best water companies in the world. Anglian also cleans a billion litres of used water through over 1,000 water recycling works every single day before returning it back to nature.
Private Placement broadens Anglian’s investor base and helps create a stable long-term financing structure
Looking to stabilise the strong investment grade ratings at the regulated Operating Company (OpCo) and to create a stable, long-term financing structure to support capital expenditure to 2025 and beyond, Aigrette Financing Plc, the Financing HoldCo of the Anglian Water group, parent company of Anglian Water, turned to NatWest, which has previously helped Anglian with various transactions at different levels of the capital structure over the past few years (including a HoldCo bond, Holdco Loan Coordination, OpCo Medium-Term Note funding in Asia, and an FRN Interbank Lending Rate (IBOR) transition Liability Management exercise).
To ensure a seamless sequencing of the required financing exercises across the capital structure Anglian in June 2021 signed a £200m term loan with other banks and a £360m bridge facility solely with NatWest, with a view to subsequently replacing the bridge facility with a Private Placement (PP). Following this, the NatWest team introduced Aigrette to a carefully selected group of institutional investors to gauge appetite and hear feedback on the proposed structural features for the PP. NatWest also showed ongoing support with a £30m sole revolving credit facility (RCF) at Aigrette and a £40m hold in the syndicated MidCo RCF.
Based on these initial discussions, which indicated interest in excess of £1bn from a range of global investors, Aigrette opted to upsize its financing from the original £360m for the bridge facility.
In addition, Aigrette was able to agree some innovative documentation with its investors, which was important to Anglian’s objectives. These include: 1) a Payment in Kind (PIK) feature, which allows Aigrette to defer and capitalise interest payments during the life of the notes for a designated margin step-up; and 2) diversification on repayment flexibility, with some investors open to a fixed-to-floating structure, which allows Aigrette to balance its exposure to interest rate risks over the term of the debt, which optimised the financing for both Aigrette and Anglian’s long-term objectives.
The right people at the right time to successfully deliver for Anglian Water Group
Peter Dooley, Energy and Utilities, NatWest, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support our customer with this very successful private placement, with the Anglian Water Group’s strong credit and sustainability credentials capturing the interest of investors across the globe. This transaction is also a great example of working across teams and pulling together the right people at the right time to achieve the best outcome for our customer. For this deal we brought together lending & sector expertise as well as, private placement, debt capital management and structuring specialists, who all had directly relevant experience from similar previous transactions. The combined team’s previous experience informed and supported our ability to support our customer through this whole process, from being sole bridge lender at this point in the capital structure, through to sole PP agent on the takeout.”
Sonia Gadhia, Private Placements, NatWest, added: “We are very pleased with the exceptional investor support that Anglian has received, and we are excited that our customer was able to include some innovative, rarely seen features in the PP documentation. This transaction showcases our market leadership for private placements, in particular this kind of complex subordinated-PP transaction, and our strong water and broader utility sector knowledge. Our bespoke global PP distribution approach has been fundamental in enabling Anglian to attract appetite across the globe and meet its specific PP financing objectives.”
Jane Pilcher, Treasurer, Anglian Water, commented: “This was a complicated transaction and the final piece of the puzzle across a multi-stage transaction which has helped us create a sustainable, efficient capital framework in the interests of customers and investors, the environment and the long-term viability of Anglian Water. We are grateful to NatWest, which has supported us on a number of complex deals in the past as well as providing balance sheet support, for guiding us so successfully through the private placement process. Not only have we secured a higher funding volume than anticipated and at rates that we are happy with, but we have also significantly strengthened our investor base thanks to NatWest’s reach into the global investor community.”
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