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Deals – 17 October

Deals – 17 October

Pillsbury Winthrop represented the underwriters including UBS Securities LLC, A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc., Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray…

Pillsbury Winthrop represented the underwriters including UBS Securities LLC, A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc., Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Inc. and KBC Financial Products USA Inc. in a US$100 million ($150 million) offering of 4 million 7.70 Preferred Trust Securities of Southwest Gas Capital II, a Delaware statutory trust guaranteed by Southwest Gas Corporation. Southwest Gas Corporation is the largest distributor of natural gas in Arizona and Nevada and also distributes and transports natural gas in portions of California. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Northern Pipeline Construction Co., is a full-service underground piping contractor which provides utility companies with trenching and installation, replacement and maintenance services for energy distribution systems. The transaction closed in August 2003.

Coudert Brothers acted for France Telecom in its sale of stakes in Argentina and El Salvador.

France Telecom will sell its indirect interests in Telecom Argentina to W de Argentina, an affiliate of the Los W group, a leading Argentinean investment company. Consideration is US$125 ($183) million, to be paid in full at closing.

The closing of the transaction is expected to take place as soon as all necessary authorisations have been obtained, in particular legal and governmental authorisations.

The Telecom Argentina group is one of Argentina's two main telecommunications operators. It provides local and long-distance telephony, mobile communications (through its subsidiary Telecom Personal), data and Internet access services in northern Argentina. It also operates a mobile license in Paraguay through one of its subsidiaries.

Telecom Argentina stock is listed on the Buenos Aires and New York stock exchanges (as ADRs). Nortel preferred shares are also listed on the Buenos Aires and New York stock exchanges.

France Telecom and CAC (a group of private Salvadoran partners) agreed to sell their 51 per cent indirect interest in El Salvador's operator, CTE Salvador, to America Movil for US$417 ($610) million, payable in cash at the closing of the transaction.

The closing will occur before the end of November 2003, subject to prior legal and governmental approvals.

Since 1998, when the France Telecom-led consortium Estel LLC won an international tender, acquiring a 51 per cent interest in the company, CTE has become a competitive company, adapting to the liberalization of El Salvador's telecommunications market. The operator provides a complete range of telecommunications services to private customers and businesses: fixed-line and mobile telephony, data transfer and Internet services. CTE also operates in Guatemala through its subsidiary, Cablenet.

America Movil is being advised by New York's Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

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Deals – 17 October
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