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Russia: Russia scrambles for the Eurobond caravan

Business leaders keep a close eye on rivals in Russia. "If your competitor buys a Mercedes, you'll buy a Mercedes," says Yuri Kotler, spokesman for the Federal Commission for the Securities Market. "If he hires a western chief financial officer, so will you. And if he issues a Eurobond..." Since the Russian Federation's debut $1 billion Eurobond last November, many companies have said they'll follow suit. So far none has. The state Eurobond "had the gestation period of an elephant", as one banker put it (it took nearly a year to launch the deal) so there should be little expectation that Russian companies would be right behind it. And the City of Moscow only managed to launch its $500 million debut Eurobond at the end of May. St Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod are due to come to market by the end of this month.

But there are many companies large enough to tap international capital markets. And as a result of privatization none has large debts left on its books. With so much restructuring and investment needed, and no domestic bond market, there is a big demand for international capital.

Yet the municipalities and regions (oblasts) are issuing first.

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