Korea First Bank, last year's most prolific cross-border issuer from ex-Japan Asia, last week selected arrangers for what will be its fourth international MBS. Although 14 banks were invited to pitch, the selection of joint leads Calyon Securities, Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered did not come as a surprise to most observers.

Calyon and RBS (along with BNP Paribas) were involved in KFB's December deal, a 550 million ($717 million) blowout that proved popular with European buyers (see ASR, 12/6/05). The pricing of the 3.09-year Ambac-wrapped deal was Euribor plus 21 basis points, comfortably a new benchmark for the Korean cross-border market. Officials at the issuer were highly impressed with the efforts of all three leads, particularly as some rival banks had told KFB pre-launch its pricing goals were unattainable.

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