Maturity: April 6, 1999
Issue price: 97.25
Fixed re-offer price: 96.625
Launched: Thursday March 12
Lead mgr: Merrill Lynch
Note: at maturity noteholders receive nominal x (F1/F2) + (nominal x (F1/F2) x 20%) where F1 is Micex Rb/$ fixing around 11am (Moscow time) one business day before payment date and F2 is Micex Rb/$ fixing around 11 am one business day before maturity date.
In certain circumstances, including where it is impossible to set the F2 rate, noteholders may receive amount in roubles as their payment on maturity in place of US dollars.
The rationale behind this deal is that it fills the gap between the non-deliverable forward and the GKO markets -- which are the only way of getting local currency exposure to Russia at the moment.
This issue was designed as a Euroclearable instrument which gives investors exposure to the rouble without any of the custody or settlement problems associated with investing directly in the local Russian market.
As well as the convenience of the structure it also offers a yield -- 24.19% at the re-offer -- which is well above what's available in the dollar Eurobond market.
Despite Moody's downgrading of Russia on Wednesday, there was a good market background for the deal. The GKO market had rallied 1-1/2 points today and the deal has been a great success and is bid away from us in the brokers at 96.70.
We are pretty much done on our $92m ticket. Most of the placement to date has been with fund managers based in all the major European financial centres. We also expect to see interest from the US as well.
"...nice pricing and a nice structure. We had no problems placing our $1m ticket with a US money manager. Given the search for yield we would expect to see more of this type of product."
"...an experiment for all concerned, but with investors across the globe chasing yield there is increasing willingness to look at new currencies and structures. Pricing-wise this looked attractive and we expect that it will be a success."