Russia's first publicly rated future-flow deal is coming. On roadshow last week in Europe and this week in the U.S, Gazprom International is expected to tap US$1 billion from many of the same investors that purchase export-backed deals from Latin American originators, sources said. ABN AMRO, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley are jointly leading the deal, which is understood to be the first in a program.
While potentially unfamiliar to corners of the U.S. ABS market, the gas exporter is a well-known commodity to corporate investors, banking circles and energy players in Europe. "Its asset base is incredibly huge," said Tim McCarthy, chief investment officer at Moscow-based Troika Dialog Asset Management. The company, he added, owns about 35% of the world's natural gas reserves and raked in US$27 billion of revenues in 2003. The company has already issued corporate bonds and, even though the current deal will be its first secured export note (SEN), the company has already tied exports to a sizable amount of debt. Last year, exports secured about a third of debt assumed in 2003, according to Standard & Poor's.