Slovakia's long-awaited $1 billion multi-tranche Eurobond issue in dollars, marks and yen will finally be launched during the week ending May 8. The news was announced by Nomura International, the lead manager of the transaction, in an April 27 statement.
Slovakia will hold a series of investor presentations before the launch, Nomura International said. They will take place in Boston and Hartford on May 4, New York on May 5, Zürich on May 6, Frankfurt on May 7 and London on May 8.
Nomura International will act as global co-ordinator and lead manager, but Chase Manhattan will act as joint lead manager for the dollar tranche and Commerzbank AG will step up as joint lead manager for the mark tranche.
Slovakia first tapped the Eurobond market in September 1993, borrowing through the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS). The current issue is being organized through the Finance Ministry.
In March 1998, the ministry said it wanted to increase the volume of the issue to between $500 million and $1 billion from the figure of $250 million to $300 million that had originally been foreseen in 1997.
The government originally planned to launch the five-year foreign currency bond late last year, but postponed the issue due to market volatility triggered by the Asian financial crisis. The long-delayed move received the final nod only very recently, said a senior ministry official who requested anonymity.
The source said the government had raised some questions that required further study by the ministry. "One of the things that the government asked for was an analysis of the effect that the rating changes could have on the issue," the ministry official said.
Last month, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the country ceiling for foreign currency bonds of the Slovak Republic to one notch below investment grade at Ba1/NP, and lowered the ceiling for foreign currency bank deposits to Ba2. Standard & Poor's followed soon, cutting Slovakia's ratings' outlook to negative from stable, while affirming its BBB- foreign currency rating and its single A local currency rating.
7. May 1998 at 0:00 | Peter Laca