Peru: Morning News Roundup – Friday February 1

Peru concerned about environmental damage after tank ship sinks

The Peruvian government expressed concern on Thursday about environmental damage at sea off the coast of the country’s Tumbes province after a tank ship exploded and sank on Wednesday. "We have tried to reduce the effects of the oil spill and prevent damage to flora and fauna," said Peruvian Vice Minister of Energy and Mines Pedro Gamio. A tank ship exploded and sank off the coast of northwestern Peru, leaking oil into the sea. Fifteen people were injured in the accident. Gamio said an investigation was underway to find out whether the ship complied with security norms and rules about oil transport. A rescue team was at the scene, placing a containing barrier to prevent the oil spill from spreading. (Xinhua – click here to read complete article)

Peru Adopts Anti-Hotel-Speculation Measures

The Peruvian government announced on Thursday it would have 200 rooms available for foreign delegations to two summits to be held in this country in 2008, and avoid that those groups are ripped off by hotel speculator businesspeople. The measure was announced by Foreign Minister Jose Garcia Belaunde, who said the accommodations are located in tourist centers of the Armed Forces, police, and others. He said the government would not allow that the visitors are ripped off by hotels that try to charge them huge amounts of money, as in the case of one that raised its price from $100 to $600 for the days of the summits. "The government will not allow this swindle, thus it is offering 1,200 rooms in military and police tourist centers to the delegations that will come to Peru," he said. (Prensa Latina – click here to read complete article)

Peruvian Regions Protest Forest Sale

Three large Amazon regions warned Thursday they would call a general strike if Congress approves a bill to sell almost 20 million acres of forestland to foreign investors. A second mass march was held yesterday in Iquitos, the main city of the Amazon, organized by the Patriotic Front in the Loreto region (FPL) to reject the "Forest Law" bill. FPL leader Leandro Pizango declared that Loreto, Ucayali and San Martin regions will be paralyzed "if Congress dares approve" the project boosted by President Alan Garcia. Pizango noted that FPL coordinates with other Amazon regions and the rest of the country, which will join the protest. He criticized Garcia for not fulfilling campaign promises to the Amazon, and instead threatens it with selling Amazonia lands. (Prensa Latina – click here to read complete article)

‘Peru’ percussionists beat di≠erent drum

For audiences at “Peru Negro” this past Wednesday and Thursday night, the exuberance of Afro-Peruvian singing, drumming and dancing provided an unusual break from the week’s monotony. Sponsored by the Yale Repertory Theater and the World Performance Project at Yale, the Lima-based music and dance ensemble brought an exciting taste of traditional Black Peruvian culture to the University Theater. The show featured a variety of Black Peruvian song and dance, from the landó, a slow and sensual song, to the festejo, which expresses exuberant happiness through its music and choreography. (Yale Daily News – click here to read complete article by Sarah Wolf)

Peru Plans PEN2.9bn in Local Debt

Peru has approved a plan to place up to PEN2.88bn in sovereign bonds in the domestic market, it said. The debt will be placed up until the end of the year and will fund debt management operations and pre-finance public sector needs. The Finance Ministry had previously announced plans to repurchase some outstanding Brady bonds in March as part of its liability management and push to strengthen its local debt markets. (Latin Finance)

BCP Denies M&A Talks

Banco de Credito del Peru is not engaged in talks to sell itself to another bank, Carlos Munoz, COO tells LatinFinance. “There’s a lot circling around out there, but nothing going on,” says Munoz, adding the bank has no interest in selling itself. Rumors have circled for months that a large foreign entity has been courting BCP. Santander in particular has been identified as the number one suitor, say executives away from the bank. But BCP is held by Credicorp, which is controlled by the Romero family. Without their approval, the bank cannot be sold, say bankers familiar with the institution. (Latin Finance)

Peru’s BCP Takes Flexed Loan to Retail

Banco de Credito del Peru has successfully raised an MLA tier of banks for a $300m 3-year amortizing loan and launched the deal to retail syndication Tuesday. In order to get lenders to agree to the financing, however, BCP had to flex up the margin on the facility by 20bp, a sign of increasingly tight credit conditions in the loan market. As originally reported by LatinFinance, BCP launched in early January offering step-up pricing of Libor plus 50bp, 55bp and 65bp in years one, two and three respectively. But most of the MLA banks that participated demanded better pricing and the deal was flexed to 70bp, 75bp and 85bp. BofA, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, Dresdner, Natixis and Unicredit’s Italian branch joined as MLAs, while JPMorgan, Standard Chartered and Wachovia were the original bookrunners. The deal is now being offered to retail, with tickets of $20m, $15m, and $10m offering fees of 35bp, 30bp and 25bp over Libor, respectively. Flexing is increasingly becoming a part of LatAm loan syndications. It is particularly noticeable now, as deals that were mandated and launched last year look to close amid some of the roughest market conditions the region has seen in years. (Latin Finance)

Peru’s Cienciano defeats Uruguay’s Wanderer 1-0 in Copa Libertadores qualifier

Peru’s Cienciano topped Uruguay’s Wanderers 1-0 with an early goal by Masakatsu Sawa in Copa Libertadores qualifying on Thursday. Sawa sped by two Wanderers defenders and shot a powerful kick in with his left foot in the 14th minute. The Wanderers were lethargic playing 3,300 meters (10,800 feet) at altitude in a packed Garcilaso de la Vega Stadium. Cienciano faces Wanderers in the second leg in Montevideo on Feb. 7. (AP – click here to see article)