For companies with enough cash on their books, there's a silverlining to the stormy credit markets: They can buy back their bondson the cheap.

European companies including Anglo American Plc, Deutsche BankAG, and Banco Comercial Portugues SA have agreed to buy back bondsat below their face value in recent weeks, generating instantprofit and often reducing their indebtedness in the bargain. Thetransactions can be a way to show strength, an important statementto make in a market where investors are increasingly skepticalabout the credit quality of many borrowers.

"It's a sign from companies that they feel Europe is in a deflationary situation and that it's not a great time to take on more debt or expand." --Barnaby Martin, Bank of AmericaSofar this year, European companies bought back or announced tendersfor 57 billion euros (US$62 billion), according to DavidLeeming, head of liability management for Royal Bank ofScotland Group Plc in London. That's more than five times theamount for the same period last year, said Leeming, who monitorsbuybacks from companies in Western Europe and Nordic nations insterling, euros, and dollars.

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