Bankers at Santander in Mexico are working overtime before the holidays. Besides an upcoming deal for the state of Mexico (see ASR 12/02 pg. 19), the Spanish bank has just launched a program for the highway system of the state of Chihuahua. In late November, it priced Ps1.4 billion (US$136.3 million) at a real rate of 7.5%, which translates to as spread of 175 basis points over inflation-indexed treasuries. The structuring agent is Corporativo en Finanzas.

With an overcollateralization of 2.1 and a reserve fund equal to 15 months of payments, the 10-year Chihuahua deal won a AAA' national-scale rating from Fitch Ratings and AA+' from Standard & Poor's. It is backed by toll road revenues from nine highways in the state.

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