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Best Agency Borrower

Western Europe: KfW

It has been a year of dramatic change for German state development agency KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau), which lends to support housing, infrastructure, export finance and development aid. At the end of January details of its takeover of two smaller German development banks, DtA and DEG, with which it partly overlapped, were confirmed and a new structure unveiled.

This puts the treasury team of KfW at the centre of funding for the new enlarged group. DtA will continue to lend to start-ups and small and medium-size enterprises, DEG will promote the private sector in developing countries, KfW will maintain its lending programmes and also arrange capital markets finance for the whole group.

KfW's newly-enlarged funding programme for 2001 now amounts to e40 billion ($34.4 billion), making it the fourth-largest issuer of euro sovereign guaranteed bonds after the governments of Germany, Italy and France. "Assuming the funding of DtA gives them a critical mass, which is both a challenge and an opportunity," says a banker close to the borrower. "Deciding how to address that was by no means straightforward and simple."

KfW chose to follow the example of Freddie Mac and announced a euro benchmark programme that will involve two issues a year of a minimum size of e5 billion.

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