UPDATE 1-Portugal sweet talks US investors as bond deal looms

Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:05am EST

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By John Geddie

LONDON, Jan 18 (IFR) - Portugal, rated Ba3/BB/BB+, has embarked on its first major investor roadshow since it received a bailout in 2011, sources said.

Citi, Morgan Stanley and Stormharbour have organised meetings with U.S.-based fixed income investors for a week-and-a-half long roadshow which will explain Portugal's debt strategy, the sources said.

Portugal has undergone ad hoc roadshows in Europe over the last 12 months, but nothing of this extent, one syndicate official added.

"The investor reaction has been very positive so far. If investors believe in Europe then they will buy Portugal - it is the highest yielding asset by some margin," one source close to the deal said.

Local newspaper Diario Economico reported on Thursday that Portugal was planning to issue a five-year syndicated bond in the next few days, depending on the success of the roadshow.

"It looks like it's going to be a euro deal, but not as soon as next week," the bank source added.

Debt agency chief Joao Moreira Rato was in the United States on Thursday when government spokesperson Luis Marques Guedes encouraged the agency to tap into improving market sentiment by issuing bonds and bills with an eye to a full return to markets "as soon as possible". (Reporting By John Geddie and Alex Chambers, editing by Julian Baker)

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