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San Miguel: a tasty brew?

Joseph Estrada

This one's a tough one.

The issuer: the Philippines government; the deal size: possibly $1 billion; the details: the bonds are convertible into shares in San Miguel Corporation; the catch: ownership of the shares, part of the Marcos booty, is still being argued through the courts.

The bonds look like a tough sell, but the Philippines Department of Finance is lining up a shortlist of investment banks tough enough to take on the job.

So far CSFB, Goldman Sachs, ING Barings, JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers and Salomon Smith Barney have been named as possible candidates for the underwriting mandate. The government may chose to hire any of them or all six.

The plan is still in its early stages admits a department official, adding that a decision is expected early this year. No amount has been officially decided, or term sheet drawn up, he says.

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