Europe

Russia - Talk of a securitization coming out of Russia is nothing new but recent evidence suggests that some major companies are again looking at the technique as a way of raising finance. This may raise eyebrows among hardened ABS aficionados, but rumors abound that Russian firms with major export revenues are back in discussions with ratings agencies and banks to see if, this time, a transaction can be launched out of the country.

Italy - Italian mortgage lender Cariplo, a wholly owned subsidiary of Banca Intesa, last week launched what has been described as the first true prime mortgage-backed deal to come out of Italy. Called Intesa Sec., the E513.1 million ($464 million) transaction securitizes a pool of over 20,000 residential mortgages originated by Cariplo in Italy.

Australia - The prospects for another record year in the Australian mortgage-backed securities markets have improved further with the announcement by ANZ Banking Group that it is to enter the securitisation market.

ANZ is one of the country's four major domestic banks with a total Australia-New Zealand loan portfolio of around A$50 billion equivalent (US$29 billion). Australian owner-occupied home loans, which will be the focus of the first few transactions, account for around A$24 billion.

Latin America

Portugal - Portugal has not been amongst the busiest securitizing nations in Europe, though it has gone from nothing to a regular deal flow over the last two years. Nonetheless, although the Portuguese government implemented a securitization law last November, bankers have been disappointed that the mortgage-backed securitization - in many countries the mainstay of issuance - has yet to get off the ground.

Brazil - After ten months in the works, Brazilian bank Bozano Simonsen recently structured a break-through deal for the Odebrecht Group, a petrochemical producer, that could set new standards for Brazil's local ABS market.

The transaction, a R180 million ($100 million) trade-receivables securitization for five polyethylene producing companies owned by Odebrecht, has many noteworthy elements.

Argentina - With Argentina's wireless communication industry increasingly compet itive, wireless phone service provider Telecom Personal has turned to securitization as a way to raise funding to improve its technological edge against rivals Bell South and AT&T. The company first considered an IPO but ended up opting for a securitization.

Asia

Thailand - Another non-performing loan deal may be brewing in Thailand, after DBS Thai Danu Bank auctioned off 77% of its bad debts to two investors. The two investors were a fund owned by U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers and a local finance company called National Finance, sources in Bangkok said. They paid an average price of 29 cents on the dollar, to purchase assets - a mix of retail, mortgage and corporate loans - with a face value of Bt31 billion ($754 million) for Bt8.4 billion.

Japan - Japan is about to see one of the biggest CMBS issues of the year, as Merrill Lynch brings a 75 billion ($689 million) securitization backed by Seibu Corp.'s flagship store in Tokyo, market pros in Japan said.

The domestic sale and leaseback-style transaction, which will allow Seibu to continue to operate the store, arises because Seibu is part of the Credit Saison group. Saison also owns a property developer called Seiyo Corp., which has just filed for liquidation after suffering considerable losses since the bursting of the bubble economy at the start of the 1990s.

Japan - The Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants has issued a definitive set of guidelines that tighten up the rules on how much an issuer of a securitization transaction can retain on its books and still get capital relief.

The finalized guidelines were issued at the beginning of August and follow the provisional rules that the JICPA published in June for consultation.

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