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Awards of Excellence

Latin American regional awards

Best bank: BBVA Banco Provincial
Best debt house: ABN Amro

A change is taking place in Venezuela’s financial system. For years the award for best bank was easy to make: Banco Mercantil, the country’s largest. This year, however, there is a new winner: BBVA Banco Provincial – is the most profitable in Venezuela and in 2006 its net income grew by 43.4%. Other impressive statistics include a 52% growth in its loan portfolio, a 59% growth in its deposits and an improvement in its return on equity to 38.8% from 32.8%. The bank is placing emphasis on diversifying its lending, especially to SMEs. In the debt capital markets, one bank dominates business: ABN Amro. Last year the Dutch bank was sole bookrunner on the biggest ever emerging markets cash bond issue: a $7.5 billion deal for state oil company PDVSA. The dollar bonds were largely placed in the local market and split into three tranches: $3 billion of 10-year notes, $3 billion of 20-year bonds and $1.5 billion for a 30-year bond. The deal was upsized from its original $5 billion.

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