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Argentine credit: Argentina tempers optimism with uncertainty

Strong growth and the government’s debt swap to holdouts have opened the bond markets to the country’s private sector. But October’s presidential election is already stirring uncertainty. Rob Dwyer reports.

SCHEDULING A VISIT by Euromoney to Deutsche Bank’s harbour-side offices in Buenos Aires was proving difficult. Deutsche chief executive Josef Ackermann was visiting the city in the same week and was causing diary chaos. This visit in itself answered the stock question: is Argentina becoming more important to the investment bank and therefore more visible to the global leadership?

Marcelo Blanco, Deutsche’s country head of investment banking, confirms it: "Latin America is a critical component of Deutsche Bank’s global business platform and Argentina has and will be a relevant part of that business."

Despite all its recent travails Argentina is still the third-largest economy in Latin America and is being touted again as a market that will generate healthy investment banking activity. In June 2010 the government agreed the second round of its debt swap to holdouts from the original deal.

This opened the possibility of new bonds from private-sector Argentine borrowers. These duly came: IRSA, a real estate company, tapped the market for $150 million in July. Citi led the B/B– transaction, with Itaú and Santander as bookrunners. The 2020 bonds priced at 97.840 with an 11.5% coupon to yield 11.875%. In May 2010 Pan American Energy had raised $500 million, pricing at 98.204

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