Citigroup Global Markets is preparing to swipe through a sixth credit card-backed transaction for Panamanian originator Banco del Istmo (Banistmo). Sized at $270 million, the seven-year final transaction is expected to have closed Nov. 19, according to a well-placed source. Rated BBB' from Fitch Ratings, the deal has a five-year average life.
The last issue off the program - a five-year, $150 million deal - closed Sept. 21, 2001, via Deutsche Bank Securities, a miraculous achievement given the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon just 10 days earlier. Credit card-backed transactions out of emerging markets are typically vulnerable to events that threaten global tourism, since the receivables are generally tied to foreigners traveling for business or pleasure. Banistmo's transactions are different than comparable deals, however, in that a good chunk of eligible receivables are actually originated by locals. This is possible only because the local economy is dollarized, thereby heading off currency risk.