December 17, 2009
Argentine cement producer Loma Negra has obtained a $125m A/B facility with the IDB and a group of banks to help it expand its capacity and invest in environmental projects. The facility includes a $105m 5-year B loan, heard paying in the general Libor plus 425bp area, and a $20m 8-year A loan, paying an additional 37.5bp, according to people familiar with the deal. The deal took close to a year to fund thanks to difficulties commercial banks had in approving the credit to the Argentine borrower in the midst of a crisis, say executives involved. Commercial banks pressed for a guarantee from Loma Negra’s parent Camargo Correa Cimentos to ensure participation, which makes the deal have more of a Brazil credit than an Argentine one. Santander and Standard Bank were the first two banks on the B portion of the deal and were joined later by Itau, HSBC, BBVA and BNP. The total number of banks in the B loan was higher than originally expected, and contributed to an upsize of $25m from an originally targeted $100m, say bankers involved. Despite the guarantee from its Brazilian parent, the deal offers an encouraging, if not premature, development for Argentine corporates seeking to access credit markets. With the sovereign expected to unveil its exchange offer plan in the coming weeks, the possibility of an overall improvement “I think Argentina will return to the bond markets in the 9% area, and this will allow corporates to begin accessing [the markets in general] after that,” Marcos Gradin, head of finance at Loma Negra, tells LatinFinance.