Notice is hereby given that the following filing(s) has/have been made with the Commission pursuant to provisions of the Act and rules promulgated under the Act. All interested persons are referred to the application(s) and/or declaration(s) for complete statements of the proposed transaction(s) summarized below. The application(s) and/or declaration(s) and any amendment(s) is/are available for public inspection through the Commission's Branch of Public Reference.
Interested persons wishing to comment or request a hearing on the application(s) and/or declaration(s) should submit their views in writing by June 10, 2003, to the Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, DC 20549-0609, and serve a copy on the relevant applicant(s) and/or declarant(s) at the address(es) 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 June 10, 2003, the application(s) and/or declaration(s), as filed or as amended, may be granted and/or permitted to become effective.
Unitil Corporation et al. (70-10120)
Unitil Corporation (“Unitil”), 6 Liberty Lane West, Hampton, New Hampshire, 03842-1270, a registered holding company under the Act, and its wholly owned subsidiary companies, Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company (“Fitchburg”), Unitil Energy Systems, Inc., Unitil Power Corp., Unitil Realty Corp., Unitil Resources, Inc. and Unitil Service Corp. (“Unitil Service”) (the “Subsidiaries” or “Money Pool Participants” and together with Unitil the “Applicants”) have filed an application-declaration under sections 6, 7, 9(a), 10 and 12(b) of the Act and rules 43 and 45 thereunder.
By order dated June 9, 2000 (HCAR No. 27182), Applicants were authorized to make unsecured short-term borrowings and to operate a system money pool (“Money Pool”) through June 30, 2003. The Applicants now request authority to make additional short-term borrowings and extend the operation of the Money Pool through June 30, 2006 (“Authorization Period”).
Unitil requests authorization for short-term borrowing on a revolving basis from certain banks up to an aggregate amount of $55,000,000 from time to time through the Authorization Period.
In addition, Fitchburg requests authorization for short-term borrowings from the Money Pool, and direct borrowings from commercial banks, in an aggregate principal amount at any one time outstanding not to exceed $35,000,000 from time to time through the Authorization Period.
Unitil believes that an increase to its borrowing authority is beneficial because it will allow the company to respond to increased working capital requirements as a result of commodity volatility and restructuring charges, as well as necessary facility system improvements and growth.
Unitil's existing and proposed borrowing arrangements will provide for borrowings at (1) “base” or “prime” rates publicly announced by a bank as the rate charged on loans to its most creditworthy business firms; or (2) “money market” rates (market-based rates that are generally lower than base or prime rates, made available by banks on an offering or “when available” basis). In addition, borrowings may be based on the daily federal funds rate. Borrowings under the credit arrangements will mature not more than nine months from the date of issue. In the future, the Company may choose to formalize its banking relationship with its banks through a syndicated credit facility. The duration of any such facility would not exceed 365 days.
Unitil expects to use the proceeds from the requested borrowings for (1) loans or advances to subsidiaries through the Money Pool; (2) payment of Start Printed Page 28038outstanding indebtedness; (3) short-term cash needs that may arise due to payment timing differences; and (4) other general corporate purposes.
Any of the proposed short-term borrowings by Fitchburg from commercial banks will be under terms and conditions substantially similar to those of the borrowing arrangements between Unitil and its commercial bank lenders, described above. Fitchburg will use the proceeds from these borrowings to meet working capital requirements, provide interim financing for construction expenditures, and to meet debt and preferred stock sinking fund requirements.
In connection with the continued use of the Money Pool by the Applicants under the Cash Pooling and Loan Agreement (“Pooling Agreement”) among Unitil and the Money Pool Participants dated as of February 1, 1985, as amended, Fitchburg requests authorization to make loans to the other Money Pool Participants and incur borrowings from Unitil and the other Money Pool Participants, and the Applicants request authorization to make loans to Fitchburg, both through the Authorization Period. Under the Pooling Agreement, Unitil and the Subsidiaries invest their surplus funds, and the Subsidiaries borrow funds, from the money pool. Unitil Service administers the money pool on an “at cost” basis. The purpose of the Money Pool is to provide the Subsidiaries with internal and external funds and to invest surplus funds of Unitil and the Subsidiaries in short-term money market instruments. The Applicants state that the Money Pool provides the Subsidiaries with lower short-term borrowing costs due to elimination of banking fees; a mechanism to earn a higher return on interest from surplus funds that are loaned to other Subsidiaries; and decreased reliance on external funding sources.
Applicants state that the authorization sought shall be conditioned on Unitil, Unitil Energy and Fitchburg maintaining a common equity (as reflected in the most recent 10-K or 10-Q filed with the Commission under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“1934 Act”), adjusted to reflect changes in capitalization since the balance sheet date therein) of at least 30% of its consolidated capitalization (common equity, preferred stock, long-term and short-term debt) during the period of authorization. In addition, no borrowings under bank credit facilities may be made in reliance upon any order issued in this matter unless: (i) The debt security to be issued, if rated, is rated investment grade; (ii) all outstanding securities of the issuer that are rated are rated investment grade; and (iii) all outstanding securities of Unitil that are rated are rated investment grade.
For purposes of this condition, a security will be considered rated investment grade if it is rated investment grade by at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization, as that term is used in paragraphs (c)(2)(vi)(E), (F) and (H) of rule 15c3-1 under the 1934 Act.Start Signature
For the Commission by the Division of Investment Management, pursuant to delegated authority.
J. Lynn Taylor,
[FR Doc. 03-12809 Filed 5-21-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-M