Mar 1, 2004

Argentina Picks Advisors

Argentina named three international investment banks to advise on restructuring $99.4 billion in sovereign bonds, in default since December 2001. Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna picked UBS Warburg, Merrill Lynch and Barclays. The government hired a group of local banks comprising state-owned Banco de la Nación Argentina, Banco Galicia and BBVA. These banks could share at least $88 million in fees if the restructuring is successful.

Leading international investment banks such CSFB were disqualified from bidding because of their role in previous bond sales for Argentina. Others, such as Citigroup, refused to bid for the mandate. The government had earlier retained Lazard Frères to act as advisor. International banks backed out either for reputational reasons or out of fear of not being paid. Bankers worried that Argentina would insist on structuring a proposal to creditors that would fail for lack of bondholder support.

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