After a year or two of mounting expectation, Russia has finally seized the attention of structured finance investors and it appears it's not letting go anytime soon. In the last week of March, two Russian originators, Alfa Bank and Russian Standard Bank, floated structured deals into the public market for a combined $715 million, a compelling figure from a single emerging market country. And typical for a market like Russia that's new to structured finance, the transactions offered ground-breaking features.
Alfa, for its part, became the first Russian originator to tap diversified payment rights (DPRs), an asset class that Brazilian and Turkish banks have come to treat as a financing staple. The bank priced a five-year final, $350 million transaction on March 27, at 160 basis points over three-month Libor, roughly 60 basis points tight to the spread it has achieved with comparable unsecured financing, according to a source on the deal. Merrill Lynch and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein were joint leads. Moody's Investors Service rated the bond Baa3'.