First Chicago Corp. has arranged a $100 million commercial paper program for China National Chemicals Import and Export Corp., the first Chinese company to venture into the U.S. public debt market.

First Chicago also will act as the issuing and paying agent and depositary and First Chicago Capital Markets Inc., a unit of First Chicago, as the sole commercial paper dealer, the Chinese company announced in a press release.

The Participants

The Bank of China and Credit Suisse are co-arrangers. Credit Suisse also acting as agent and providing letters of credit.

Other participating banks are Italy's Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Germany's Bayerische Hypotheken-und Wechsel Bank AG, and Japan's Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank Ltd.

Funding for Debt Deals

The funding is being done in the name of Sinochem American Holdings Inc., the New York-based U.S. operating unit of the Chinese government-owned company and will be mainly used for trading transactions.

China National Chemicals, also known as Sinochem Beijing, is one of China's biggest trading companies, with a turnover of $12.25 billion last year.

Chinese Expansion

The issue comes as Chinese companies are seeking to broaden their international borrowings in order to invest and to expand their operations.

Market sources said several other Chinese companies with U.S. units are planning to launch U.S. commercial paper programs soon, and are also considering issuing dollar-denominated bonds in the United States.

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