The Korea Asset Management Corporation (Kamco) is considering a global asset-backed securitization to be launched early next year.

Nine foreign investment banks and consulting firms have recently been asked to submit proposals for advising the agency on an international non-performing loan-backed issue, said an agency official in Seoul.

"The first stage of this project is to conduct the feasibility study. If the result is positive, then we will go to the second stage and appoint another underwriter early next year," he said. Size and launch date are undecided and will depend on the proposals, which are due November 1, he added.

Kamco has already issued two NPL-backed securitizations a W320 billion ($265 million) deal in June and another worth W360 billion in August both of which were arranged and placed in the domestic market. The agency, which was mandated in 1997 to clean up Korea's banking sector, is looking to overseas investors to diversify its funding sources, explained the official.

Kamco president Jae-Ryong Chung recently said that Kamco was planning to issue up to $500 million in NPL-backed securities in the Euromarket during the first quarter of 2000.

An NPL-backed deal with Kamco assets is certainly feasible, agreed bankers. But some questioned the wisdom of splitting up the advisory and arrangement of the same transaction among different firms. "Since Kamco can appoint whomever they want as underwriter, there's no incentive for us to submit any good ideas because someone else will just steal them later on. This arrangement sucks," remarked one Asian ABS head.

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