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Philippines Yankee: Drama until the end

The postponed Philippines' yankee was finally launched last month in a way that appeared to save face for both the country and lead-manager Salomon Brothers but which, in reality, retained the quirkiness of the entire saga.

Although the deal was cut down from a jumbo $1.25 billion to a more modest $500 million, the Philippines central bank, Bangko Sentral, got the maturities it wanted - 30-year and 100-year - at tighter pricing than it could have achieved in April when the original deal was pulled.

For Salomon, too, the deal appeared to salvage its reputation in Asia as a strong yankee bond house, although there are doubts about how quickly it was placed and whether the bank made any money.

Salomon's yankee franchise is far and away its most successful business in Asia and damaging that franchise would have been nothing short of a disaster. Under these circumstances it had to step up to the plate, or risk jibes about the Philippine bond issue which it won, couldn't get done (in April) and which then might have been placed by one of its fiercest rivals.

Behind the scenes, however, the unorthodox story of the Philippines' yankee continued to unfold.

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