Emerging from a few years of hostile conditions, Uruguayan rice producers are now tilling the field of high finance. As part of a US$35 million securitization of future flows into a government-administered rice fund, debt-addled farmers will receive funding expressly to pay back loans to the Bank of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay and to manufacturers and exporters. "A part of the funds will go to cancel these debts," said Eduardo D'Orazio, director of Fitch Ratings Argentina. "The object is to help mend the banking and rice sectors."

Keeping true to the namesake of its French parent company Credit Agricole, Banco ACAC is leading the transaction. The deal is split into two tranches, both rated A+(uy)' on the national scale by Fitch. A US$28 million chunk was sold exclusively to pension funds in the last days of December, while a wider net was cast for the remaining US$7 million. Other than the investor audience, the series are identical. The expected maturity of the paper is five years and the yield 9.5%. Ferrere Lamaison provided legal counsel.

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