Barclays to issue commodity-backed CDO

Barclays Capital, the investment banking arm of London-based Barclays Bank, is to issue a synthetic collateralised debt obligation (CDO), backed by a series of commodity swaps.

Belo, as the issue has been called, is a five-year, $15 million transaction and has been assigned a preliminary double-A rating by Standard & Poor's (S&P). Investors are paid a floating interest rate defined by Libor plus a yet-to-be-determined margin.

S&P says the Belo deal is the first CDO using commodity swaps that it has rated.

The underlying of the CDO is a portfolio of 15 commodity trigger swaps, including gold, silver, platinum, palladium, copper, aluminium, zinc, tin, lead, Brent, WTI, gas oil, heating oil, unleaded gas and natural gas.

Repayment of capital is dependent on the spot price of the underlying commodities at maturity in 2009. If the price of one drops below 65% of its initial valuation price, then a trigger event occurs. There are 10 separate trigger prices, counting down in 5% bands to a 20% floor. Payoff levels depend on the various trigger events which have occurred.

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