By November of last year, it appeared that Mexico would be a nonentity in the cross-border market for all of 2006. Domestic investors' unquenchable thirst for securitization was deterring originators from going abroad and the promise of the first cross-border RMBS was fading as originator Metrofinanciera delayed a deal over M&A matters.

Then came Navistar. The Mexican unit of the truck loan and lease provider closed a two-tranche, peso-denominated transaction via Merrill Lynch. While the deal wasn't sold into the market - Merrill's New York operation was reportedly the sole buyer - it is registered in the U.S. and could be sold to investors here at any time. That is ultimately Merrill's goal, according to sources close to the deal.

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