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Ambrosiano makes a splash in calm waters

Issuer: Ambroveneto International Bank

Amount: $500 Million

Issue type: floating-rate note

Launched: December 3

Bookrunner: Barclays Capital; UBS

As Christmas presents go, this could not be more welcome for each of the players involved. The issuer, Banco Ambrosiano Veneto (BAV) through its Cayman Islands subsidiary, needed to have the final piece of its financing jigsaw in place for its acquisition of Cariplo early in the new year. For Barclays Capital, still in the process of redefining its role after the sale of Barclays' equities and advisory businesses, an innovative, successful deal was just the boost it needed. Meanwhile, a deal such as this was also very welcome for UBS, about to embark on a merger with SBC which may all but kill off its investment-banking arm. The deal was so successful that the original $400 million size was increased by $100 million the following day. Even the other members of the syndicate were happy.

The deal marks a number of firsts: the debut international bond for BAV, the first issue of upper tier-two debt by an Italian bank and the largest upper tier-two debt issue so far in the Euromarkets. It might also reopen the market for raising bank capital, a market which was severely hit by the upheavals in the last quarter of 1997.

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