In a move that has caught most ex-Japan Asian bankers by surprise, Indonesia will shortly see its first securitization since the Asian financial crisis took hold in 1997. Merrill Lynch will arrange and underwrite a $600 million future-flow offering for energy concern PT Bumi Resources, backed by coal exports generated by two of its subsidiaries, PT Kaltim Prima Coal and PT Arutmin.

It is unusual for a deal of such significance to slip under the radar screen - especially since Merrill has secretly had the mandate for several months - many bankers were unaware of its existence until seeing a recent Fitch Ratings presale report. Speculation over arranging fees soon spread, with estimates that Merrill will earn anywhere from $10 million to $25 million for the deal.

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