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The arranged marriage

"You want to make sure your leads are awake, sweating at night, and we knew they would be." This was how Mark Cutis, treasurer of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) justified picking a decidedly odd couple of banks to launch its benchmark foray into five-year Deutschmarks, its first benchmark for two years. By Steve Irvine.

Issuer: EBRD
Amount: Dm1 billion

Maturity: 5 years

Launched: Monday January 29

Lead managers: BZW, Nomura


"You want to make sure your leads are awake, sweating at night, and we knew they would be." This was how Mark Cutis, treasurer of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) justified picking a decidedly odd couple of banks to launch its benchmark foray into five-year Deutschmarks, its first benchmark for two years. As speculation grew about the EBRD move, few expected the names of BZW and Nomura, houses with little Deutschmark track record, to appear together on the winning ticket. No-one was more surprised than the banks themselves. And, like parties to an extreme form of arranged marriage, they did not discover their partner's identity right up until a final planning conference call on the Friday evening before the Monday night launch into Asia.


At first, Nomura's syndicate head, Andrew Asbury, suspected a Swiss house would be involved to provide a mix of Asian institutional buying and European retail. When his opposite number at a Swiss firm said nothing much was going on, his curiosity grew. Meanwhile, BZW thought a German house would be involved, if only for political reasons.



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