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NextEra Energy Capital leads US power sector's debt-filled 2019 raises

U.S. electric utilities and power producers issued approximately $90.95 billion of securities during 2019, rising from $80.97 billion in 2018, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. The total includes $73.06 billion of senior debt, compared to $66.84 billion a year earlier. The sector also issued $6.67 billion in common equity, $6.51 billion in subordinated debt and $4.71 billion in preferred equity.

Largest 2019 issuers in the power sector

NextEra Energy Capital Holdings Inc. was the largest issuer in the power sector during 2019 with approximately $8.19 billion of securities sold, comprising $7 billion of senior debt and $1.19 billion of subordinated debt. The NextEra Energy Inc. subsidiary issued the securities to purchase a portfolio of U.S. Treasury securities, to repay a portion of borrowings under four separate term-loan agreements and repay a portion of its outstanding commercial paper obligations. NextEra Energy, which became the first U.S.-headquartered power company to surpass $100 billion in market capitalization in 2019, used the loan agreements to partially finance its acquisition of Gulf Power Co.

Dominion Energy Inc. followed in second with $5.57 billion of securities sold in 2019. The Richmond, Va.-headquartered company was the top issuer of preferred equity in the U.S. power and electric utility sector, selling $2.41 billion of securities to repay short-term debt and for general corporate purposes. It also sold $1.6 billion of senior debt, $1.4 billion of subordinated debt and $156 million of common equity.

DTE Energy Co. claimed the third spot with the issuance of $2.28 billion of senior debt and $1.65 billion of common equity to fund its $2.25 billion acquisition of a gathering system and gathering pipeline in the Haynesville Shale of Louisiana, to repay short-term borrowings and for general corporate purposes.

As of Dec. 31, 2019, Duke Energy Corp. sold $1.80 billion senior notes and $2 billion preferred equity, while Edison International sold $1.40 billion of senior debt and $2.21 billion in common equity, topping the list of common equity issuers in the sector.

Calpine Corp., NextEra Energy subsidiary Florida Power & Light Co., Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary MidAmerican Energy Co., Edison International subsidiary Southern California Edison Co., and Sempra Energy subsidiary Oncor Electric Delivery Co. LLC were also among the top 10 issuers in the power sector in 2019.

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