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February 1996

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  • A bid so finely priced as to put profits in doubt, a smouldering argument over 500 years of iron ore reserves, the lack of a new story to tell investors - these are the problems Merrill Lynch faces after winning the mandate to privatize Companhia Vale de Rio Doce. Competitors that failed to secure the contract say they are sleeping better now it has gone to someone else. Brian Caplen reports.
  • So much rests on the success of the Dm15 billion share issue for Deutsche Telekom, scheduled for November - not least the credibility of Frankfurt as a financial centre. But the odds are stacking up against a trouble-free issue. There's discontent in the top-heavy syndicate, the anti-trust measures under which Telekom will operate are still not clear, the German economy looks shaky and there are no plans to sweeten retail investors. Laura Covill reports.
  • Competition is driving down the fees banks charge for running privatization issues. Last year's 3% is heading below 2%. Top firms argue that skimping on fees damages issue quality and, especially, after-sales service. But the same firms are cutting their charges to stay in the game. Peter Lee reports.
  • At the end of last year, world privatization seemed to be out for the count. Disgruntled investors, fed up with buying too many issues that bombed, swore they'd never touch privatizations again. Now government privatization teams, armed with more realistic pricing and some innovative ideas to attract retail investors, are back up and fighting. Could this be the time to buy? By Garry Evans.
  • Institutional investors loved privatization in the 1980s when the UK government sold off sleepily run companies with undervalued assets such as Cable & Wireless and Associated British Ports. They are less interested in highly regulated utilities with heavy long-term investment plans - all that's on offer these days. As the government struggles to whip up enthusiasm for this year's disposal candidates, Railtrack and British Energy, Jonathan Ford looks at the end of the City's love affair with privatization.
  • The enormous enthusiasm international investment bankers showed when China began floating state-owned companies in 1993 has cooled markedly. The poor market performance of the early issuers has slowed the flow of new ones. But signs are that the Chinese authorities are adopting a more realistic approach to attract back foreign investors. Sophie Röell reports.
  • I am standing around in this financial mausoleum where the morticians wear frock coats, when I hear voices raised and a mahogany door slams open and out bursts this redhead, yelling: Any more of this expletive deleted from you and I'll take my overdraft elsewhere.
  • Euromoney's poll of government finance ministries, privatized companies, investors and banks puts Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley at the top of the privatization rankings. Their European rivals are on the whole less popular, but not as unpopular as, say, the words "French privatization" are to the average investor. By Charles Piggott and Sasha Zbitnoff.
  • Privatization has got itself a bad name. Investors, burned by poorly-performing issues over the past two years, are no longer excited by it.
  • Brawn triumphs over class, Schroders touts track record, Last orders please, They live to roadshow, Privitization gives Mongolians the hump.
  • In the interest of national security, The telecoms dilema, Not convertible to Maastricht, Hardly a model, Measuring the world.
  • The wave of privatizations over the last 15 years has spawned new types of legal structure - and specialist lawyers to apply them. By Christopher Stoakes.
  • Privatization has been one of the strongest oars rowing the boat of global economic liberalization. By David Roche.
  • Merrill and JP Moran win bid, The battle for Polish copper, Stet stand-off, Telecoms double act.
  • Russian privatization has been rapid and controversial. Transfers to banks of stakes in the country's largest businesses have sparked a furious debate about the terms of the deals and whether or not the banks are improving management. But instead of changing tack, the government has been pushing ahead before the political climate changes. Vindicating its quick approach has been the much quieter and more successful sell-off of thousands of smaller companies.
  • The Korean government is eager to sell off a large chunk of Korea Telecom, not least because it needs the money to help balance its budget. But with an issue of up to $2 billion likely, there's no way the local market can cope, especially when it's beset by scandal. So is it time for the finance ministry to call up some international investment bankers to discuss a foreign listing? Tony Shale reports.
  • Jean-Claude Komarovsky resists the temptation to retrieve some of the family silver from the Russians. Especially while there are plenty of Americans willing to get their fingers burnt.
  • From mafia ties and drug trafficking to bribery and insider dealing, allegations of corruption have tainted numerous privatizations around the world. As governments, bankers and investors are learning, to create stable market economies it is necessary to do more than shift assets out of governments' hands. The process also needs transparent procedures to monitor into whose hands they fall - and to determine who reaps the benefits. Michelle Celarier reports.
  • Despite difficult market conditions, there were significant privatization successes in 1995. In general, privatizers were more circumspect in their approach to the pricing, sizing, placement and timing of offers. Euromoney journalists report on six countries' efforts in difficult markets, and their future plans - followed by a list of major planned privatizations.
  • They are politicians, bankers, bureaucrats and academics. They range from British cabinet ministers, to Hungarian lawyers, to Wall Street investment bankers. But the number of individuals who have had a decisive influence on the course of world privatization since 1980 is surprisingly limited. Steven Irvine and other Euromoney journalists pick out 14 stars of privatization and visit its spiritual home, NM Rothschild.