Citi Asks for Help to Escape Crisis

With the global credit crisis beginning to recede, representatives of Citi Bank have been holding meetings with Israeli institutional investors this week to cultivate interest in its upcoming bond issue.

Citi hopes to raise NIS 400 million next week, with two series of nonnegotiable bonds linked to the Israeli Consumer Price Index.

The first series will have an average duration to maturity of 4.7 years and the second, 8.3 years.

Citi's fund-raiser will be conducted by Citigroup Funding (CFI), a wholly-owned Citi subsidiary, via a prospectus. CFI is registered on the Luxembourg stock exchange. Clal Underwriting and Poalim IBI will be assisting Citi Israel with the issue.

The distribution notice sent to Israeli institutional investors states that Citi is one of the world's leading banking and financial services groups, with business dealings in over 100 countries and over 36,000 employees.

Citi's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange at a market cap of $101 billion, and the group's equity is established at $136 billion.

In addition, Citi has international ratings of Aa3 and AA from Standard & Poor's and Moody's, respectively.

One point not mentioned in the distribution notice is that last Thursday, Citi's share was trading at a 10-year low, and 39% below its price at the beginning of this year, due to the credit crisis in the United States and its resulting extensive write-offs.

Still, Citi recently published second-quarter financial reports that outperformed the analysts' forecasts.