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US Commercial Paper and its Role in FTSE100 Companies

Publicly listed companies, especially members of the FTSE100 index, employ various financial instruments to manage their short-term funding needs efficiently. One such instrument is US Commercial Paper (USCP). In this article, we examine USCP, exploring its definition, the parties involved in its issuance, the issuance process, and the rationale behind its usage among FTSE100 companies.

What is US Commercial Paper?


US Commercial Paper refers to unsecured, short-term debt instruments issued by corporations, financial institutions, and occasionally sovereign entities to raise funds for operational needs. These promissory notes typically mature within 270 days, making them a preferred choice for companies looking to secure quick and flexible financing.


Parties Involved in the Issuance Process:


The issuance process of US Commercial Paper involves several key players, each playing a crucial role in facilitating the transaction:


  1. Issuer (FTSE100 Company): The publicly listed company, often a member of the FTSE100, seeking short-term financing by issuing US Commercial Paper.

  2. Commercial Paper Dealer or Underwriter: Financial institutions that act as intermediaries between the issuer and investors. They purchase the commercial paper from the issuer and sell it to investors, earning a fee for their services.

  3. Investors: Institutional investors, money market funds, and other entities looking for short-term, low-risk investment opportunities.


Issuance Process for US Commercial Paper:


The issuance process for US Commercial Paper typically follows these steps:


  1. Determination of Funding Needs: The FTSE100 company assesses its short-term funding requirements and decides on the amount of commercial paper to issue.

  2. Negotiation with Dealers: The issuer negotiates the terms of the commercial paper issuance with commercial paper dealers, including the interest rate and maturity date.

  3. Documentation and Ratings: The issuer provides necessary documentation, and the commercial paper may undergo credit rating assessments. Higher credit ratings can attract investors and lower the cost of borrowing.

  4. Distribution to Investors: The commercial paper dealers distribute the issued commercial paper to a diverse group of investors.

  5. Maturity and Repayment: The issuer repays the principal amount along with the interest upon the maturity of the commercial paper.


Why Issue US Commercial Paper?


FTSE100 companies may choose to issue US Commercial Paper for several reasons:


  1. Cost-Effective Financing: USCP often offers lower interest rates compared to other short-term financing options, providing cost-effective funding for operational needs.

  2. Flexibility: The short-term nature of commercial paper allows companies to adjust their financing strategy according to changing market conditions and funding requirements.

  3. Diversification of Funding Sources: Issuing US Commercial Paper diversifies a company's funding sources, reducing reliance on traditional bank loans.

  4. Quick Access to Capital: The streamlined issuance process enables FTSE100 companies to access capital quickly, addressing immediate funding needs.




In the intricate financial landscape, FTSE100 companies strategically leverage US Commercial Paper to meet short-term funding requirements efficiently. This financial instrument, with its simplicity and flexibility, has become a valuable tool in the toolkit of these prominent publicly listed entities.




Q1: What is the FTSE100 stock index?

A1: The FTSE100 is a stock index representing the 100 largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, ranked by market capitalization.


Q2: What are Commercial Paper Dealers or Underwriters?

A2: Commercial Paper Dealers or Underwriters are financial institutions that facilitate the issuance of commercial paper by purchasing it from the issuer and selling it to investors.


Q3: What is a Credit Rating?

A3: A credit rating is an assessment of the creditworthiness of a borrower, indicating the likelihood of timely repayment of debts. Higher credit ratings imply lower credit risk.


Q4: What is a Money Market Fund?

A4: A Money Market Fund is a type of mutual fund that invests in short-term, low-risk securities such as commercial paper, Treasury bills, and certificates of deposit. It aims to provide investors with stable and conservative returns.


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About the author


Sabbir Rahman is Managing Director of Langdon Capital. He has held prior roles with Morgan Stanley, Lazard and Barclays Investment Bank. He has executed over £60 billion in notional value of debt, equity, M&A and derivatives transactions with global corporates, private equity funds and financial sponsor groups.


About Langdon Capital


Langdon Capital assists innovative, high-growth companies, with >£1m in annual revenue and >30% in annual revenue growth, raise between £1m and £25m in debt or equity at Series A and later funding rounds from a network of alternative investors spanning venture capital funds, corporate VC arms, family offices, venture debt funds, private credit funds, real estate funds and hedge funds.




This is not financial advice or any offer, invitation or inducement to sell or provide financial products or services or to engage in any form of investment activity.

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