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Best sovereign borrower - Latin America

Republic of Colombia

Issuance in local currency is a major theme in the Latin American borrowers' awards this year. Pemex, GMAC Financiera and even supranational borrower of the year the Inter-American Development Bank all came to market with ground-breaking and innovative deals in local Latin currencies. But one borrower deserves to be singled out as being at the forefront of this particular trend, the Republic of Colombia.

Colombia was not the first sovereign to play the local-currency game – that was Uruguay. But it was Colombia that was responsible for taking the asset class from mere curiosity to trend.

Colombia's first Global TES deal, which came to market for $375 million in November 2004, is still the first deal that those in the know mention when they want to talk about what a good idea issuing in local currency to foreign investors can be. It was a blowout deal, upsized relatively modestly from $250 million despite a book significantly larger than that generated by Colombia's 10-year $500 million dollar bond in September.

The bond performed very well in the secondary market, but the real success of the deal was seen in the effect that this one $375 million bond had on the $25 billion local market for TES, as Colombian treasury bonds are known.

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