Korea is set to enjoy a strong finish to 2005. After Samsung Card recently secured Korea's first case of triple-A ratings for an unwrapped transaction with a $300 million credit card issue via Standard Chartered, local rival LG Card completed a $400 million deal via Merrill Lynch.

Although Moody's Investor Service rated LG's issue a couple of notches below Samsung at Aa3, the bonds, which have a 4.3-year average life, enjoyed competitive pricing of 28 basis points over Libor. Aside from arranging the deal, Merrill is thought to be the sole investor, a role it has assumed on other Korean ABS transactions in the past year.

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