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An issuer with an open mind

Issuer: Banque Générale du Luxembourg

Amount: $2 billion

Launched: November 28 1996

Lead manager: Merrill Lynch

"It's not that they will look at quite anything," says Henry Nevstad at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, "but it's pretty close to that." He is talking about the $2 billion Euro-MTN programme run by Banque Générale du Luxembourg (BGL) which has been both busy and innovative since its launch 13 months ago.

"My phone has been exploding," says Philip Inghelbrecht, who is in charge of the programme's day-to-day running. He was speaking late last year as most of the financial community was winding down for Christmas. On that day, he had closed three yen trades, all bermuda callables ­ notes carrying multiple step-up coupons that are callable each time the interest rate increases.

This is a standard structure in the MTN market, but since signing its programme in November 1996, BGL has gained a reputation as a borrower that is willing to look at more exotic trades. "We try to be opportunity-driven," says Inghelbrecht. "Any structures that other people cannot take, for whatever reason, we will try to do. These are often the ones that translate to better levels.

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