EBMUD, Metro, and Irvine Ranch Retain Saber Partners

Three of the nation’s top rated utilities (all AAA/Aa), the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) based in Oakland, Calif., the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, based in Los Angeles, and the Irvine Ranch Water District based in Irvine, Calif., on Dec. 11 announced that they have retained Saber Partners, LLC to assist in developing and implementing their variable rate financing strategy.

Saber will advise the companies in developing the most efficient, lowest cost access to the capital markets, initially focusing on about $1.2 billion of the outstanding amount under the combined programs. The firm will examine successful strategies from the corporate and international markets that could assist in addressing the current municipal market liquidity crisis.

Gary Breaux, EBMUD’s director of finance, who will coordinate the process for the three utilities, said, "Saber has a proven track record of successful innovation in structuring and marketing variable rate securities.”

“Saber's team also has unique experience and achievements in both the financings and financial management of high-grade issuers of corporate and municipal debt. They will complement our existing team very well at this critical time,” he said.

“The current market turmoil should be both an awakening and an opportunity for high-quality issuers to become more proactive,” said Joseph Fichera, senior managing director and chief executive officer of Saber Partners.

“EBMUD, Metropolitan Water, and Irvine Ranch are top-rated, extremely well-managed companies with exceptionally strong credit profiles. They should appeal to wide variety of investors worldwide, especially during a flight to quality. Saber Partners is honored to have this opportunity to serve these companies.”

In addition to Fichera, Saber’s team assigned to this project includes Brian Maher, the former assistant treasurer of ExxonMobil Corp., and head of their capital markets function as well as Paul Sutherland, a former finance executive from Florida Power & Light Co.