Credit Suisse First Boston has been selected as the lead manager for the debut international securitization of the Korea Exchange Bank fending off competition from Nomura and UBS Warburg, according to a source familiar with the deal.
At this stage, the source said, KEB has notified CSFB that it is the 'preferred bidder', and is waiting for the bank to send a mandate letter to formalize the decision.
In early March, KEB, which lists commercial banking, securities investment and international banking among its major activities, invited requests for proposals from Citibank, CSFB, ING Barings, Nomura, SG and UBS.
A fortnight ago that was whittled down to three with CSFB, Nomura and UBS flying to Seoul to make more detail proposals. It is believed UBS dropped out of the bidding late on, leaving CSFB to emerge as the winner in a two horse race.
KEB's deal will be backed by credit card receivables, making it the third international card transaction to come out of Korea in the past year. Samsung Card launched a $500 million offering via ING in September 2001, which was followed by an equally sized deal from LG Card last December. CSFB was also involved on that deal as joint lead-manager with UBS.
According to rumors about the original RFP sent out, KEB will seek to raise a similar amount from its own deal. No word has yet been given about a launch date for the transaction; although sometime in late summer would seem to be likely.
Meanwhile the next deal to come out of Korea will be when Samsung Capital launches a $300 million deal later on this month. Merrill Lynch is handling that deal. As for the next mandate, one banker familiar with the Korean cross-border securitization market told FinanceAsia that RFP's will soon be sent out by the same issuers as last year û LG Card and Samsung Capital - but had not heard of any new names stepping up to the plate.