Catatonic this quarter in terms of issuance, Latin America's cross-border market is very much alive on the mandate front. Brazilian bank Unibanco has apparently awarded a mandate to South African-based Standard Bank for a seven-year, US$150 million deal backed by diversified payment rights (DPRs). That transaction marks the first Latin American securitization for Standard, which is handling the deal out of its New York office, with former ING Barings banker Gordon Kingsley at the helm, sources said.

Also on board is Ambac, signaling an end to its self-imposed moratorium on cross-border Brazilian transactions. Run-off from an existing deal by mining company CVRD and a reassessment of aggregate exposure to Brazil in light of the country's improved prospects created room for Unibanco on Ambac's books, according to a source familiar with the guarantor. The transaction would end the de facto monopoly that MBIA has held on the Brazilian market since July 2002, when ING brought to market the last Ambac wrapped-deal, a US$300 million DPR for Banco do Brasil. Elsewhere in Brazil, Banespa and Banco Santander Brasil have sent out RFPs for a DPR transaction, a first for either bank. Spain's Santander Central Hispano controls both companies, but they operate independently. Also heard is a looming transaction from Banco Itau.

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