Dominion Gas Holdings, LLC: Anticipatory Interest Rate Hedging
The case examines interest rate risk management at a U.S. utility company, Dominion Gas Holdings. In November 2012, as part of its new financing plan, it wanted to hedge the interest rate risk involved with the company's 2013 planned issuance of $1 billion in debt. While the coupon rates for the planned debt were unknown as of November 2012, the company wanted to lock in its financing costs one year ahead since interest rates were at historically low levels. The company was considering entering into a number of forward-starting interest rate swaps. The use of forward-starting interest rate swaps as a pre-issuance hedging tool could cause some accounting and regulatory risks, and some other utility companies chose not to hedge at all. A bank had approached Dominion Gas with an indicative quote for the forward-starting swap, and the Treasurer had to decide whether it was a fair rate. This case has been used in a first-year MBA class that focused on valuation of financial markets, and a more advanced second-year elective that focused on derivative securities.