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Estonians do it back to front

Issuer: Eesti Uhispank (Union Bank of Estonia)

Amount: Dm350 million

Programme launched: June 2 1997

Arranger: Chase Manhattan

When the Asian currency crisis spilled over into the rest of the world's emerging markets, bankers agreed on one thing: borrowers from many regions could forget about new Eurobond issues for the rest of the year.

Europe's Baltic states were badly hit. In Estonia, the leader of the Baltic pack, the Tallinn Stock Exchange lost more than 40% of its value between the end of August and the beginning of November. Debut Eurobonds from leading financial institutions Hansabank and Hoiupank were put on hold.

Calm sits in the eye of a storm. And in the middle of the Baltic maelstrom, Eesti Uhispank - Union Bank of Estonia (UBE) - quietly went out and issued over $100 million of privately placed Euro-MTNs.

Few can now doubt the wisdom of the bank's decision to set up a programme in June this year, although at the time even vice-president Margus Schults was uncertain whether it would succeed.

This is half the explanation for the initially modest programme ceiling of Dm100 million ($58.1 million). The other half is the bank's inaccurate funding forecast.

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