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Moving closer to the EU

Issuer: Republic of Cyprus

Amount: $300 million

Launched: June 19 1997

Lead manager: SBC Warburg

If you're thinking of going to Cyprus for a holiday, next year could be a good bet. By then much of the proceeds from the government's debut bond issue will have been invested in road, sewerage and irrigation projects which should make your stay even more comfortable.

Not that this was the main reason for the Republic of Cyprus finally to enter the international bond markets. The Greek-controlled part of the island, which just a few months ago looked as if it was about to descend into war with the Turkish enclave to the north, was more concerned with getting its name known among international investors, and for that reason the central bank prohibited Cypriot banks from investing in the $300 million, five-year Eurobond.

Also, officials at the Central Bank of Cyprus were keen to diversify their funding strategy. "We had previously relied on syndicated loans for tapping the international markets, and our ECP programme for short-term funding," says Ioannis Ioannou, head of external debt operations at the central bank.

The deal was the inaugural public bond issued off Cyprus's $500 million EMTN programme signed one week before, and was lead-managed by the programme's arranger, SBC Warburg.

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