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Highland piper accompanies ScottishPower on to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

The strains of Highland pipes and the swirl of tartan kilts greeted traders at the opening bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange yesterday as ScottishPower opened a listing in search of fresh capital from US investors, writes David Usborne.

The Glasgow-based utility, with its multiple telecommunications, electricity, gas and water businesses, became the first Scottish company to offer shares on the New York exchange. The shares will be sold in the form of American Depository Receipts (ADRs).

Taking part in the brief ceremony, ScottishPower's chairman, Murray Stuart, said: `Becoming the first Scottish company to trade in ordinary shares, via an ADR, on the New York market reflects our successful progression from a local electricity company to a multi-utility group.' About 8 per cent of the shares in the utility are already held in the US, mainly by institutional investors. The company said that through the listing it was hoping to attract smaller institutions as well as private US investors.

In London, ScottishPower's shares finished the day 7.5p higher at 469p, against the market trend.