The maiden voyage of first bond (TT May02 p18-19)

FirstGroup plc typically has £700m of net debt mostly made up of bank facilities. The banking relationships have been, and continue to be, very strong but there was an overreliance on this relatively short-term funding. First now has three strong and complimentary business operations. When the US school bus division of Ryder was acquired in 1999 a step increase in bank funding was arranged.We knew it would need to be refinanced at some stage and longer term financing was the preferred route.

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