Investors in the THPA Finance Ltd. whole business securitization got wind of some good news recently, Deutsche Bank Securities researchers noted in a report. Corus, a major customer of PD Portco plc, is reportedly in talks to sell its Teesside plant, the researchers said. The steelmaker had previously said that it might close the Teeside plant under a corporate restructuring plan.

Citing a news report, the DBSI researchers said possible buyers include a consortium led by Swiss steel trader Duferco and a rival consortium led by Brazilian steelmaker CSN.

The researchers said a sale would eliminate uncertainty over how the plant closure would impact PD Portco's business.

And in a separate development, another major Teeside user - Huntsman - secured a government grant of GBP16.5 million ($26.6 million). Citing a different news report, the researchers said the grant would go toward an upgrade of its existing facilities as well as a new chemical plant at Teesside.

Deutsche Bank is the underwriter on the THPA Finance deal, which closed in 2001. The GBP305 million ($548.1 million) securitization is backed by operations at the port of Tees and Hartlepool in northeast England.

The deal itself was in the news recently because PD Ports announced a plan to repurchase two classes of floating-rate notes by last Wednesday, the next interest payment date (see ASR 8/23).

Copyright 2004 Thomson Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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