Investment banks in detailed bids for Sri Lanka sovereign bond

July 25, 2007 (LBO) – Investment banks vying to lead-manage a sovereign bond issue have started to make detailed presentations to the Sri Lanka government as official data showed that the country’s foreign reserves were coming under pressure. The beauty parade is expected to be completed this week with banks making proposals for 400 and 500 million dollar issues.

Fourteen banks are in the running through eleven different proposals with banks like Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Citi and Barclays going it alone.

HSBC has submitted a joint bid with state-owed Bank of Ceylon. UBS Warburg, Deutsche Bank and Commercial Bank of Ceylon are also coming in as a single consortium.

Citi, HSBC, Standard Chartered and Deutsche Bank have helped sell Sri Lankan government debt in the international market in the recent past.

Sri Lanka sold around 400 million dollars of rupee denominated bonds early in 2006 to foreign buyers with the help of HSBC, Citi, Standard Chartered and Deutsche Bank.

HSBC also helped the Bank of Ceylon raise 200 million dollars through a syndicated loan. Commercial Bank has also been in the international market earlier.

Sri Lanka has weak fiscal policy with an estimated 9.2 percent budget deficit for 2006