Local Market Appeal

Jan 1, 2005

Although more Panamanian companies are eyeing local capital markets for financing, foreign issuers still dominate the landscape.

Panama's securities commission, the Comisión Nacional de Valores (CNV), reports that the number of securities registered in the country in 2004 rose threefold to $488.6 million from $166 million in 2003. Foreign securities registered on the local primary and secondary markets accounted for a full $429 million, and they are likely to rise even more this year.

Issuers register their securities with the CNV just as they would with the SEC or any other regulator. However, registration is distinct from actual issuance, and not all securities that are registered - as with a shelf - are immediately issued. Banks account for most of the new primary issuance. Banistmo, Panama's biggest bank, led the pack by registering $150 million in preferred stock and $60 million in bonds in 2004, while rival Banco General took second place with a $100 million bond registration. Third place, however, went to a corporate...

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