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Ports Authority gets $92.3 million syndicated financing

To be used for capital improvements at local air and seaports; loan was syndicated by BBVA Securities and included Banco Santander, FirstBank as co-lenders


March 24, 2005
Copyright © 2005 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

The Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA) has received a $92.3 million syndicated loan the corporation will use to refinance part of its five-year capital improvement plan for air and seaports throughout the island.

The financing for the PRPA was originated by Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Puerto Rico (BBVA), and syndicated by BBVA Securities of Puerto Rico, and included Banco Santander de Puerto Rico and FirstBank as co-lenders.

The participation of the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico (GDB) in the process was key, noted Fernando Viñas, senior vice president, investment banking director of BBVA Securities. As fiscal agent, the GDB promoted the competition of participating banks for the transaction, an action that translated into a competitive structure and pricing for the Ports Authority, Viñas explained.

"BBVA Puerto Rico had a majority participation in the transaction, with the rest distributed between Banco Santander and FirstBank," Viñas told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. "This is our first syndicated transaction of the year, although we have syndicated other transactions in the past." Previously, BBVA had arranged syndicated loans for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, which the public corporation used to finance its fuel purchases.

Syndicated transactions are more common in the private sector and, until recently, had not been an alternative for the public sector, according to Viñas. He noted, however, that on different occasions, the GDB has determined to work syndicated financing internally and has allowed private banking institutions to participate in this type of financing because these are very desirable by local banks. Syndication is a mechanism used by banks to diversify their risk.

"The BBVA Group appreciates the opportunity to be of service to the GDB and to the Government of Puerto Rico. BBVA strives to develop a closer collaboration with the public sector," said the local BBVA Securities official, who pointed out that BBVA Group’s investment banking division is a leader in syndications in Latin America and Europe.

"Syndication is one of BBVA’s global capabilities for its clients in Puerto Rico. In Latin America, for example, BBVA has been the second-largest Mandated Arranger League Table for four years in a row, according to Loan Pricing Corp.," he said. "We are second to Citicorp and ahead of firms like BNP Paribas, ABN Ambro, Barclays Bank, Bank of America, JP Morgan, and others. To be consistently No. 2 during the past four years against such respected firms speaks well of our capacity and expertise in this area"

In 2004, BBVA led the largest syndicated transaction in the Latin America region, with a $2.45 billion term loan for Telmex.

Viñas said BBVA Puerto Rico has a wide range of financing alternatives for the public sector, provided through the financial services of its Corporate & Institutional Banking division and its affiliate BBVA Securities, and backed by the wide experience of the BBVA Group in this segment worldwide.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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