Sometimes greatness has less to do with one sensational flash, and more to do with a sustained illuminating glow. That is certainly the case with Honeywell's winning approach to liquidity management, which relies less on showy projects than on determined blocking and tackling. For Honeywell, the key has been to keep it global, transparent and fungible, with a goal of always having the asset or liability at the right place, at the right time and at the right rate to ensure the highest return.

The result is a laundry list of accomplishments that become even more impressive when one realizes they were achieved in less than three years. The highlights: attaining over 90% daily visibility to its global cash and investment balances; implementing cash pools in countries where it has material business operations, establishing commercial paper (CP) programs in the U.S., Europe and Canada to provide global financing flexibility; proactively renegotiating credit agreements that lowered the cost of Honeywell's credit by $1.7 million annually; issuing notes with a present value benefit, relative to the cost of issuing at current market rates, exceeding $100 million; creating $3 billion in shareholder value and a 30% annualized return through a 2007 stock repurchase program; and funding $4.5 billion in acquisitions.

"Liquidity management starts with good cash management–a system that tracks worldwide cash balances daily and concentrates those balances so that cash can be directed to where it generates the highest returns," notes James Colby, assistant treasurer. "Investment policies are balanced to maximize returns while meeting anticipated liquidity requirements globally."

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