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Deal insider

Philippines Brady exchange: No expense spared by JP Morgan on Brady. Steven Irvine

Issuer: Republic of the Philippines

Amount: $690 million

Launched: September 20

Lead manager: JP Morgan

Type of issue: Brady exchange

The idea was easily sold to Roberto de Ocampo. "It sounds like an offer we cannot refuse," the Philippines' finance minister told jp Morgan's Simon Paterno in his ministerial office. Morgan was offering the tempting prospect of following Mexico's example of swapping distressed Brady debt for new bonds. The deal, if it happened, would signal the Philippines' full rehabilitation in the eyes of the international capital markets. Little wonder de Ocampo was keen.

It wasn't a sudden proposal. Outgoing undersecretary of finance, Romeo Bernardo, had been in negotiations with Morgan's long-serving head of investment banking in the Philippines, Simon Paterno. The two had known each other since they had returned home from the us in 1990. Bernardo was due to retire from his post on June 30, and Paterno wanted him to go out on a high note.

Bernardo, a risk-averse man, told him, "Show me a deal where Morgan will pay all the expenses in case it doesn't happen." Paterno went to New York in April with just this in mind.

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