The securitization of delinquent social security payments for the Italian pensions agency, INPS, will be rated by Moody's, Standard & Poor's, Fitch IBCA and Italrating, an INPS official confirmed recently.

The agencies will have their work cut out, however, as INPS still insists that the transaction, which could be worth E5.17 billion ($5.3 billion), has to reach the market by the year-end.

The timing is crucial because the Italian government has assumed that it will receive proceeds of at least E2.7 billion for its 1999 budget.

The deal, which is being arranged and structured by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Warburg Dillon Read and Sanpaolo IMI, is expected to boast a maturity of around three years.

INPS has around E28 billion of outstanding pension contributions, E10.3 billion of which it eventually expects to be able to recover.

According to prime ministerial undersecretary Franco Bassanini, the government recently approved a decree which introduced technical modifications to the law passed last year to allow for the INPS deal and this will ensure that the deal is closed by year-end.

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