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ECONOMY | 31-10-2019 15:13

Ex-BNP Paribas banker is potential bridge between Argentina, creditors

Bondholders turn to Marcelo Delmar, the former head of Latin American debt capital markets at BNP Paribas SA, for guidance as they gear up for restructuring talks with President-elect Alberto Fernández’s government.

A group of bondholders is turning to one of the most recognised names in Argentine debt underwriting for guidance as it gears up for restructuring talks with President-elect Alberto Fernández’s government over some US$50 billion in debt.

Marcelo Delmar, the former head of Latin American debt capital markets at BNP Paribas SA, has been offering advice in recent calls with some of Argentina’s largest creditors, according to people familiar with the matter. While a formal role hasn’t been announced, Delmar has passed up other opportunities citing his commitment to the Argentina work, the people said.

The creditor group, which has amassed some three dozen members, has been holding regular calls for the past few months to try to build a common front ahead of the expected talks. Those funds consider Delmar a trusted intermediary who understands Wall Street yet also is a familiar face to their future negotiating counterparts in Buenos Aires.

The La Plata native was at the centre of some of the nation’s first bond sales since Argentina returned to international markets in early 2016. BNP helped handle debt sales for the government as well as the provinces of Buenos Aires, Chaco and Chubut. Delmar also helped lead UBS Group AG’s work on the nation’s 2005 restructuring.

Delmar declined to comment. A spokesman for Fernández said nobody from the campaign had met with Delmar.

Delmar’s informal role in preliminary talks suggests some of Argentina’s largest bondholders want to strike a more conciliatory tone to avoid a repeat of the 15-year legal drama that locked South America’s second-largest economy out of global markets between 2001 and 2016.

Fernández has also expressed his desire for a friendlier “reprofiling,” using Uruguay’s 2003 default as a model. Still, many Argentine sovereign notes trade at a mere 40 cents on the dollar, suggesting that investors are bracing for steep losses.

 

 

by Ben Bartenstein, Bloomberg

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