Loans Grab the Limelight

Nov 1, 2006

Syndicated lending has become the unlikely star of the Latin American financing show, with ever larger transactions at increasingly tight pricing.

Forget bonds and equity. The Latin bank market is the place to be for chief financial officers looking to cut costs, raise working capital and trade finance or make a jumbo acquisition. New investment, debut borrowers, project finance and M&A should keep deal volume running at a steady clip in 2007.

"It's a defining year for Latin America," says the head of Latin American loan syndications at a leading European house. "There's still a great deal of liquidity and the region is performing well." In 2006, the Latin bank market enjoyed bumper volume of close to $60 billion, skewed by jumbo M&A. Bankers expect another strong year in 2007.

After CVRD's $18 billion extravaganza, it seemed the fireworks were over. The biggest ever transaction from an emerging markets firm – to fund the Brazilian steelmaker's purchase of Canada's Inco – changed the rules of the game, at least...

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