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BANKING

Runner up - best corporate borrower: Mobile Telesystems

Of the other international corporate deals launched from the region this year, there were a couple of distinctive transactions. The controversial €800 million ($736 million) bond issued last October by Poland's state-owned utility company PGNiG, the largest-ever euro-denominated corporate bond from the region, won Euromoney's corporate deal of the year for 2001 (see February 2002 issue). However, for astuteness in its overall borrowing, Russian mobile operator MobileTelesystems (MTS) deserves a special mention.

It was widely predicted that after Rosneft's issue in November, investor demand would remain dented for some time. However MTS, a Ba3/B+ issuer, surprised everyone by sneaking in a $250 million three-year deal just before Christmas through Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and ING Barings.Admittedly Gazprombank had just come to the market the week before, having the dubious honour of directly following Rosneft, but that deal was done in euros - a €200 million transaction - whereas MobileTelesystems was issuing in dollars, the same as Rosneft and Sibneft, which was also in the pipeline.

MTS also sold the 144A deal to a more global audience, with institutional demand accounting for more than half the distribution, whereas the Gazprombank transaction was sold mainly to European retail accounts.

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