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Deals of the year - Top quality issuers succeed in demanding markets

During 1999 there has been a steady improvement in investor sentiment towards Asian issuers of debt and equity. For the right deal, American, European and Asian buyers have all shown themselves willing to bid for Asian paper at competitive prices. For the most part, it has been only the top quality corporate and quasi-sovereign names that need apply. At the start of the year a highly successful loan for the Hong Kong Airport Authority and a debut euro deal for Hutchison Whampoa showed leading Hong Kong names reopening markets for the region's issuers. Even then below investment grade deals could be done, as the Philippines proved. Equity markets have been open, if highly selective, with offers from Korea Electric Power Co and China Telecom notable successes. An undoubted highlight was the recapitalization of Siam Commercial Bank which showed the benefits of full transparency. Luciano Mondellini reports.

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