There's little doubt among market participants that in the tainted universe of structured finance, the collateralized loan obligation has the greatest chance of survival. The CLO structure is sound and robust, they said, and CLOs are composed of straightforward assets whose origin is easy to determine. Yet, in a market where these products have to contend with forces stronger than their managers ever imagined, experts are forecasting a tough year for European CLOs-one in which the asset class overall will remain in hibernation, and some individual structures will become extinct.

A serious lack of collateral, impending corporate defaults and a secondary market that for months has offered better deals than the primary are all serving to dampen the CLO market in Europe.

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