Structured finance: The big fix

Jun 28, 2013

CDOs took a hammering during the crisis, but a new plan to use them in Colombia could help bridge a huge funding gap

CDO became almost a dirty word at the height of the financial crisis. In the US, collateralized debt obligations fell apart as the subprime crisis swept in, leaving defaults, lawsuits and foreclosures in its wake.

Yet today, plans are being advanced to put such an instrument to work in Latin America, this time to fund infrastructure development.

The move is unprecedented. But repairing Colombia’s decrepit highway system is seen as a momentous task that calls for an equally ambitious financing framework.

The country’s plans to roll out more than 8,000 kilometers of fresh tarseal are set to cost around $26 billion. That makes it Latin America’s largest ever highway project.

It is a crucial program for the country to bring down the cost of its exports. At $2,500, bringing a container from Bogotá to the coast costs around twice what it should to be globally competitive....

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