Notice is hereby given that the following filing has been made with the Commission pursuant to provisions of the Act and rules promulgated under the Act. All interested persons are referred to the declaration for complete statements of the proposed transaction summarized below. The declaration is available for public inspection through the Commission's Branch of Public Reference.
Interested persons wishing to comment or request a hearing on the declaration should submit their views in writing by February 4, 2002, to the Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, DC 20549-0609, and serve a copy on the relevant declarant at the address specified below. Proof of service (by affidavit or, in the case of an attorney at law, by certificate) should be filed with the request. Any request for hearing should identify specifically the issues of facts or law that are disputed. A person who so requests will be notified of any hearing, if ordered, and will receive a copy of any notice or order issued in the matter. After February 4, 2002, the declaration, as filed or as amended, may be granted and/or permitted to become effective.
American Electric Power Company, Inc. (70-10021)
American Electric Power Company, Inc. (“AEP”), a registered holding company, 1 Riverside Plaza, Columbus, Ohio 43215, has filed a declaration under sections 6(a), 7, 32, and 33 of the Act and rules 53 and 54 under the Act. The Commission issued a notice of the declaration on January 2, 2002 (HCAR No. 27488) (“Prior Notice”). This supplemental notice replaces in its entirety the Prior Notice.
AEP proposes to organize and acquire all of the common stock or other equity interests of one or more subsidiaries (“Financing Subsidiary” or “Financing Subsidiaries”) for the purpose of effecting various financing transactions from time to time through June 30, 2004 involving the issuance and sale of up to an aggregate of $3.0 billion (cash proceeds to AEP) in any combination of common stock, preferred securities, debt securities, stock purchase contracts and stock purchase units, as well as its common stock issuable under the stock purchase contracts and stock purchase units. AEP further proposes that it may effect directly (i.e., without Financing Subsidiary) any transaction involving common stock, preferred securities, debt securities, stock purchase contracts or stock purchase units described here, provided that AEP shall not issue any secured indebtedness. AEP will not publicly issue unsecured indebtedness or preferred securities in this file unless it has maintained at least an investment grade corporate or senior unsecured debt rating by at least one nationally recognized rating agency. No Financing Subsidiary or Special Purpose Subsidiary, as defined below, shall acquire or dispose of, directly or indirectly, any interest in any utility asset, as that term is defined under the Act. Additionally, AEP's forecasted cash flow analysis and capitalization forecast for the next two years, which forecasts assume the issuance of $1 billion of common stock out of the $3.0 billion total financing authority requested herein, indicate that it is expected that AEP's common equity will remain above 30% of its consolidated capitalization for each of the next three years.
I. Financing Subsidiaries
AEP will acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock or other equity interests of the Financing Subsidiary for amounts (inclusive of capital contributions that may be made from time to time to the Financing Subsidiary by AEP) aggregating up to 35% of the total capitalization of the Financing Subsidiary (i.e., the aggregate of the equity accounts and indebtedness of the Financing Subsidiary). An investment by AEP will not in any event be less than the minimum required by any applicable law. The business of the Financing Subsidiary will be limited to effecting financing transactions for AEP and its affiliates. In connection with these financing transactions, AEP will enter into one or more guarantee or other credit support agreements in favor of the Financing Subsidiary.
II. Preferred Securities
In connection with the issuance of preferred securities, AEP or the Financing Subsidiary proposes to organize one or more separate special purpose subsidiaries (“Special Purpose Subsidiary” or “Special Purpose Subsidiaries”) as any one or any combination of (a) a limited liability company under the Limited Liability Company Act (the “LLC Act”) of the State of Delaware or other jurisdiction considered advantageous by AEP, (b) a limited partnership under the Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act of the State of Delaware or other jurisdiction considered advantageous by AEP, (c) a business trust under the laws of the State of Delaware or other jurisdiction considered advantageous by AEP, or (d) any other entity or structure, foreign or domestic, that is considered advantageous by AEP. In the event that any Special Purpose Subsidiary is organized as a limited liability company, AEP or the Financing Subsidiary may also organize a second special purpose wholly-owned subsidiary under the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware or other jurisdiction (“Investment Sub”) for the purpose of acquiring and holding Special Purpose Start Printed Page 1998Subsidiary membership interests so as to comply with any requirement under the applicable LLC Act that a limited liability company have at least two members. In the event that any Special Purpose Subsidiary is organized as a limited partnership, AEP or the Financing Subsidiary also may organize an Investment Sub for the purpose of acting as the general partner of the Special Purpose Subsidiary and may acquire, either directly or indirectly through the Investment Sub, a limited partnership interest in the Special Purpose Subsidiary to ensure that the Special Purpose Subsidiary will at all times have a limited partner to the extent required by applicable law.
The respective Special Purpose Subsidiaries then will issue and sell to public or private investors at any time or from time to time unsecured preferred securities described below (“Preferred Securities”), with a specified par or stated value or liquidation preference per security.
AEP, the Financing Subsidiary and/or an Investment Sub will acquire all of the common stock or all of the general partnership or other common equity interests, as the case may be, of any Special Purpose Subsidiary for an amount not less than the minimum required by any applicable law and not exceeding 21% of the total equity capitalization from time to time of the Special Purpose Subsidiary (i.e., the aggregate of the equity accounts of the Special Purpose Subsidiary) (the aggregate of the investment by AEP, the Financing Subsidiary and/or an Investment Sub is referred to as the “Equity Contribution”). The Financing Subsidiary may issue and sell to any Special Purpose Subsidiary, at any time or from time to time in one or more series, unsecured subordinated debentures, unsecured promissory notes or other unsecured debt instruments (“Note” or “Notes”) governed by an indenture or other document, and the Special Purpose Subsidiary will apply both the equity contribution made to it and the proceeds from the sale of Preferred Securities by it from time to time to purchase Notes. Alternatively, the Financing Subsidiary may enter into a loan agreement or agreements with any Special Purpose Subsidiary under which the Special Purpose Subsidiary will loan to the Financing Subsidiary (“Loan” or “Loans”) both the equity contribution to the Special Purpose Subsidiary and the proceeds from the sale of the Preferred Securities by the Special Purpose Subsidiary from time to time, and the Financing Subsidiary will issue to the Special Purpose Subsidiary Notes evidencing the borrowings.
AEP or the Financing Subsidiary also proposes to guarantee (“Guaranty” or “Guaranties”) (a) payment of dividends or distributions on the Preferred Securities of any Special Purpose Subsidiary if and to the extent the Special Purpose Subsidiary has funds legally available, (b) payments to the Preferred Securities holders of amounts due upon liquidation of the Special Purpose Subsidiary or redemption of the Preferred Securities of the Special Purpose Subsidiary, and (c) certain additional amounts that may be payable in respect of the Preferred Securities. AEP's credit would support any Guaranty by the Financing Subsidiary.
Each Note will have a term of up to 50 years. Prior to maturity, the Financing Subsidiary will pay interest only on the Notes at a rate equal to the dividend or distribution rate on the related series of Preferred Securities, which dividend or distribution rate may be either a fixed rate or an adjustable rate which may be reset by auction, remarketing, put or call features, a formula or formulae based upon certain reference rates and/or by other predetermined methods. Interest payments will constitute each respective Special Purpose Subsidiary's only income and will be used by it to pay dividends or distributions on the Preferred Securities issued by it and dividends or distributions on the common stock or the general partnership or other common equity interests of the Special Purpose Subsidiary. Dividend payments or distributions on the Preferred Securities will be made on a monthly or other periodic basis and must be made to the extent that the Special Purpose Subsidiary issuing the Preferred Securities has legally available funds and cash sufficient for these purposes. However, the Financing Subsidiary may have the right to defer payment of interest on any issue of Notes for up to five or more years. Each Special Purpose Subsidiary will have the parallel right to defer dividend payments or distributions on the related series of Preferred Securities for up to five or more years, provided that if dividends or distributions on the Preferred Securities of any series are not paid for up to 18 or more consecutive months, then the holders of the Preferred Securities of the series may have the right to appoint a trustee, special general partner or other special representative to enforce the Special Purpose Subsidiary's rights under the related Note and Guaranty. The dividend or distribution rates, payment dates, redemption and other similar provisions of each series of Preferred Securities will be substantially identical to the interest rates, payment dates, redemption and other provisions of the Note issued by the Financing Subsidiary with respect thereto. The Preferred Securities may be convertible or exchangeable into common stock of AEP.
The Notes and related Guaranties will be subordinate to all other existing and future unsubordinated indebtedness for borrowed money of the Financing Subsidiary or AEP, as the case may be, and may have no cross-default provisions with respect to other indebtedness of the Financing Subsidiary or AEP. A default under any other outstanding indebtedness of the Financing Subsidiary or AEP would not result in a default under any Note or Guaranty. However, AEP and/or the Financing Subsidiary may be prohibited from declaring and paying dividends on its outstanding capital stock and making payments in respect of pari passu debt unless all payments then due under the Notes and Guaranties (without giving effect to the deferral rights discussed above) have been made.
It is expected that the Financing Subsidiary's interest payments on the Notes will be deductible for federal income tax purposes and that each Special Purpose Subsidiary will be treated as either a partnership or a passive grantor trust for federal income tax purposes. Consequently, holders of the Preferred Securities and AEP (and any Investment Sub) will be deemed to have received distributions in respect of their ownership interests in the respective Special Purpose Subsidiary and will not be entitled to any “dividends received deduction” under the Internal Revenue Code. The Preferred Securities of any series, however, may be redeemable at the option of the Special Purpose Subsidiary issuing the series (with the consent or at the direction of AEP) at a price equal to their par or stated value or liquidation preference, plus any accrued and unpaid dividends or distributions, (a) at any time after a specified date not later than approximately 10 years from their date of issuance, or (b) upon the occurrence of certain events, among them that (c) the Special Purpose Subsidiary is required to withhold or deduct certain amounts in connection with dividend, distribution or other payments or is subject to federal income tax with respect to interest received on the Notes issued to the Special Purpose Subsidiary, or (d) it is determined that the interest payments by the Financing Subsidiary on the related Notes are not Start Printed Page 1999deductible for income tax purposes, or (e) the Special Purpose Subsidiary becomes subject to regulation as an “investment company” under the Investment Company Act of 1940. The Preferred Securities of any series may also be subject to mandatory redemption upon the occurrence of certain events. The Financing Subsidiary also may have the right in certain cases or in its discretion to exchange the Preferred Securities of any Special Purpose Subsidiary for the Notes or other junior subordinated debt issued to the Special Purpose Subsidiary.
In the event that any Special Purpose Subsidiary is required to withhold or deduct certain amounts in connection with dividend, distribution or other payments, the Special Purpose Subsidiary may also have the obligation to “gross up” payments so that the holders of the Preferred Securities issued by the Special Purpose Subsidiary will receive the same payment after withholding or deduction as they would have received if no withholding or deduction were required. In this event, the Financing Subsidiary's obligations under its related Note and Guaranty may also cover the “gross up” obligation. In addition, if any Special Purpose Subsidiary is required to pay taxes with respect to income derived from interest payments on the Notes issued to it, the Financing Subsidiary may be required to pay the additional interest on the related Notes as shall be necessary in order that net amounts received and retained by the Special Purpose Subsidiary, after the payment of taxes, shall result in the Special Purpose Subsidiary's having funds as it would have had in the absence of payment of taxes.
In the event of any voluntary or involuntary liquidation, dissolution or winding up of any Special Purpose Subsidiary, the holders of the Preferred Securities of the Special Purpose Subsidiary will be entitled to receive, out of the assets of the Special Purpose Subsidiary available for distribution to its shareholders, partners or other owners, as the case may be, an amount equal to the par or stated value or liquidation preference of the Preferred Securities plus any accrued and unpaid dividends or distributions.
The constituent instruments of each Special Purpose Subsidiary, including its Limited Liability Company Agreement, Limited Partnership Agreement or Trust Agreement, as the case may be, will provide, among other things, that the Special Purpose Subsidiary's activities will be limited to the issuance and sale of Preferred Securities from time to time and the lending to the Financing Subsidiary or Investment Sub of (a) the proceeds thereof and (b) the Equity Contribution to the Special Purpose Subsidiary, and certain other related activities. Accordingly, it is proposed that no Special Purpose Subsidiary's constituent instruments include any interest or dividend coverage or capitalization ratio restrictions on its ability to issue and sell Preferred Securities as each issuance will be supported by a Note and Guaranty and the restrictions would therefore not be relevant or necessary for any Special Purpose Subsidiary to maintain an appropriate capital structure.
Each Special Purpose Subsidiary's constituent instruments will further state that its common stock or general partnership or other common equity interests are not transferable (except to certain permitted successors), that its business and affairs will be managed and controlled by AEP, the Financing Subsidiary and/or its Investment Sub (or permitted successor), and that AEP or the Financing Subsidiary (or permitted successor) will pay all expenses of the Special Purpose Subsidiary.
The distribution rate to be borne by the Preferred Securities and the interest rate on the Notes will not exceed the greater of (a) 300 basis points over U.S. Treasury securities having comparable maturities or (b) a gross spread over U.S. Treasury securities that is consistent with similar securities having comparable maturities and credit quality issued by other companies. Current market conditions suggest the costs for issuing long-term indebtedness with a three to five year maturity are less than or equal to the costs for issuing short-term indebtedness over the same time period.
III. Debt Securities
AEP proposes that, in addition to, or as an alternative to, any Preferred Securities financing as described above, AEP and/or the Financing Subsidiary may issue and sell notes directly to public or private investors without an intervening Special Purpose Subsidiary (“Debt Securities”). Any notes so issued will be unsecured, may be either senior or subordinated obligations of AEP or the Financing Subsidiary, as the case may be, may be convertible or exchangeable into common stock of AEP or Preferred Securities, may have the benefit of a sinking fund, may have a term of up to 50 years, may have fixed or adjustable rates of interest which may be reset by predetermined methods such as auction, remarketing, put or call features and/or a formula or formulae based upon certain reference rates and otherwise will have terms and provisions substantially as described here. Debt Securities of the Financing Subsidiary will have the benefit of a guarantee or other credit support by AEP. AEP will not issue the Debt Securities, either directly or through the Financing Subsidiary, unless it has evaluated all relevant financial considerations (including, without limitation, the cost of equity capital) and has determined that to do so is preferable to issuing common stock or short-term debt. Current market conditions suggest the costs for issuing long-term indebtedness with a three to five year maturity are less than or equal to the costs for issuing short-term indebtedness over the same time period.
The interest rate on the Debt Securities will not exceed the greater of (a) 300 basis points over U.S. Treasury securities having comparable maturities or (b) a gross spread over U.S. Treasury securities that is consistent with similar securities having comparable maturities and credit quality issued by other companies.
IV. Stock Purchase Contracts, Stock Purchase Units and Common Stock
AEP or the Financing Subsidiary may issue and sell from time to time stock purchase contracts (“Stock Purchase Contracts”), including contracts obligating holders to purchase from AEP and/or AEP to sell to the holders, a specified number of shares or aggregate offering price of AEP common stock at a future date. The consideration per share of common stock may be fixed at the time the Stock Purchase Contracts are issued or may be determined by reference to a specific formula set forth in the Stock Purchase Contracts. The Stock Purchase Contracts may be issued separately or as part of units (“Stock Purchase Units”) consisting of a Stock Purchase Contract and Debt Securities, Preferred Securities of AEP, or debt obligations of third parties, including U.S. Treasury securities, securing holders' obligations to purchase the common stock of AEP under the Stock Purchase Contracts. The Stock Purchase Contracts may require holders to secure their obligations in a specified manner.
AEP may issue and sell its common stock other than as a component or in satisfaction of a Stock Purchase Contract or Stock Purchase Unit (“Direct Sales”) (a) through solicitations of proposals from underwriters or dealers; (b) through negotiated transactions with underwriters or dealers; (c) directly to a limited number of purchasers or to a single purchaser; and/or (d) through agents. The price applicable to shares Start Printed Page 2000sold in any transaction will be based on several factors, including the current market price of the common stock and prevailing capital market conditions. AEP is authorized under its restated articles of incorporation to issue 600,000,000 shares of common stock ($6.50 par value), of which 322,024,714 were issued and outstanding as of February 1, 2001. As of September 30, 2001, AEP's consolidated capitalization consisted of 63.0% indebtedness, 0.7% preferred stock, 1.3% mandatorily redeemable preferred securities and 35.0% common equity.
V. Interest Rate Hedges
AEP requests authorization for it and/or the Financing Subsidiary to enter into interest rate-hedging transactions with respect to existing indebtedness (“Interest Rate Hedges”), subject to certain limitations and restrictions, in order to reduce or manage interest rate cost or risk. Interest Rate Hedges would only be entered into with counterparties (“Approved Counterparties”) whose senior debt ratings, or whose parent companies” senior debt ratings, as published by Standard and Poor's Ratings Group, are equal to or greater than BBB, or an equivalent rating from Moody's Investors' Service or Fitch Investor Service. Interest Rate Hedges will involve the use of financial instruments and derivatives commonly used in today's capital markets, such as interest rate swaps, options, caps, collars, floors, and structured notes (i.e., a debt instrument in which the principal and/or interest payments are indirectly linked to the value of an underlying asset or index), or transactions involving the purchase or sale, including short sales, of U.S. Treasury obligations. The transactions would be for fixed periods and stated notional amounts. In no case will the notional principal amount of any interest rate swap exceed that of the underlying debt instrument and related interest rate exposure. AEP and/or the Financing Subsidiary will not engage in speculative transactions. Fees, commissions and other amounts payable to the counterparty or exchange (excluding, however, the swap or option payments) in connection with an Interest Rate Hedge will not exceed those generally obtainable in competitive markets for parties of comparable credit quality.
VI. Anticipatory Hedges
In addition, AEP requests authorization for it and/or the Financing Subsidiary to enter into interest rate hedging transactions with respect to anticipated debt offerings (“Anticipatory Hedges”), subject to certain limitations and restrictions. Anticipatory Hedges would only be entered into with Approved Counterparties, and would be utilized to fix and/or limit the interest rate risk associated with any new issuance through (a) a forward sale of exchange-traded U.S. Treasury futures contracts, U.S. Treasury obligations and/or a forward swap (“Forward Sale”); (b) the purchase of put options on U.S. Treasury obligations (“Put Options Purchase”); (c) a Put Options Purchase in combination with the sale of call options on U.S. Treasury obligations (“Zero Cost Collar”); (d) transactions involving the purchase or sale, including short sales, of U.S. Treasury obligations; or (e) some combination of a Forward Sale, Put Options Purchase, Zero Cost Collar and/or other derivative or cash transactions, including, but not limited to structured notes, options, caps and collars, appropriate for the Anticipatory Hedges. Anticipatory Hedges may be executed on-exchange (“On-Exchange Trades”) with brokers through the opening of futures and/or options positions traded on the Chicago Board of Trade or the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the opening of over-the-counter positions with one or more counterparties (“Off-Exchange Trades”), or a combination of On-Exchange Trades and Off-Exchange Trades. AEP and/or the Financing Subsidiary will determine the optimal structure of each Anticipatory Hedge transaction at the time of execution. AEP may decide to lock in interest rates and/or limit its exposure to interest rate increases. AEP represents that each Interest Rate Hedge and Anticipatory Hedge will be treated for accounting purposes under generally accepted accounting principles. AEP will comply with the then existing financial disclosure requirements of the Financial Accounting Standards Board associated with hedging transactions.
VII. Use of Proceeds
The proceeds of any financing by the Financing Subsidiary or any Special Purpose Subsidiary will be remitted, paid as a dividend, loaned or otherwise transferred to AEP or its designee. The proceeds of the Preferred Securities, Debt Securities, Stock Purchase Contracts and Stock Purchase Units will be used to acquire the securities of associate companies and interests in other businesses, including interests in exempt wholesale generators (“EWGs”) and foreign utility holding companies (“FUCOs”), or in any transactions permitted under the Act and for other general corporate purposes, including the reduction of short-term indebtedness. AEP had approximately $3.6 billion outstanding short-term indebtedness as of September 30, 2001. No proceeds will be used to purchase generation assets currently owned by AEP or any affiliate unless the purchase has been approved by order of this Commission in File No. 70-9785 or other similar applications. AEP represents that no financing proceeds will be used to acquire the equity securities of any company or any interest in other businesses unless the acquisition has been approved by the Commission in this proceeding or in File No. 70-9353 or is in accordance with an available exemption under sections 32, 33 and 34 of the Act or rule 58 under the Act. AEP does not seek in this proceeding any increase in the amount it is permitted to invest in EWGs and FUCOs.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Investment Management, pursuant to delegated authority.
Margaret H. McFarland,
1. The proposed terms and conditions of the Interest Rate Hedges and Anticipatory Hedges are substantially the same as the Commission has approved in other cases. See Entergy Corporation, HCAR No. 27371 (April 3, 2001); New Century Energies, Inc., et al., HCAR No. 27000 (April 7, 1999); and Ameren Corp., et al., HCAR No. 27053 (July 23, 1999).Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 02-942 Filed 1-14-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-P