A bond debut from CNOOC

The transaction with everything in its favour except the rating agencies.

Roadshows began in Hong Kong on Friday for one of the most exciting new Asian credits to tap the international bond markets. With Credit Suisse First Boston and Merrill Lynch as lead managers, China National Offshore Oil Corp CNOOC has set out to raise $500 million from a 10-year 144a bond offering that will price between Thursday this week and Monday next week, subject to how quickly demand gets out of hand.

Market participants universally agree that the transaction is one in which all investors will want to participate, unless indicative pricing levels get so tight that international investors drop away.

Success will hinge on two key factors.

Firstly and most importantly, there is...

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