The Caribbean nation of Antigua & Barbuda is looking beyond tourists for funds. With Delamore - Hitech Ltd. as arranger and investor, the unrated islands are readying a deal backed by future fuel tax revenues and rental income from a U.S. military base. "It's pretty difficult for Antigua to raise money in the commercial market," said Sanjeev Kumar, a director at the lead. "We'll be buying it for own books and later on we'll decide what to do."

The transaction is planned at US$14 million. Maturity will be 12-15 years and pricing will come between 8% and 11%. Delamor - Hitech, which is a Delamor & Owl Group Company, is shooting for an investment grade rating without the help of guarantees. The receivables originated from the military base carry the implicit backing of the U.S. government, Kumar said. As it is now structured, the vehicle would trap US$1.25 million worth of the rental receivables a year and US$50,000 a month of the fuel tax receivables.

Launch date is set for March.

The structurer is no stranger to emerging markets. It has been involved in ABS in Turkey, Thailand, South Korea and Malaysia, among others. The company has also snapped up Latin American transactions in the past. It presently has three other mandates in the Western Hemisphere apart from the Antigua deal. Average transaction size is US$50 million, with average tenor of three-to-five years, Kumar said.

Copyright 2003 Thomson Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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