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Emerging Europe - Best sovereign borrower


It has been a busy and crowded market for sovereign issuers in emerging Europe in the past 12 months, as one would expect when conditions are so good that even Belarus could sell a bond, should it so desire. Hungary has come back in force to the market, having been absent last year. Romania, Lithuania, Malta, Croatia, and the Ukraine have also either issued bonds or are poised to do so.

But Poland has stood out as the most sophisticated issuer this year because of the diversity of issues that it has brought to market.

At the beginning of 2002, things weren't looking so good for the Polish debt team, led by head of foreign debt Edward Basinski. When the country announced its large financing requirements to the market, treasury spreads rose by 30 basis points in a fortnight. At that point, Poland relied almost exclusively on German investors, who thus realized they were in a strong position to demand high yields from the country. A e750 million issue from Poland in February 2002 came in at relatively high levels.

So Poland decided it needed to diversify its investor base. In July 2002 it did so by issuing its first dollar-denominated Eurobond, a $1.4

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