Thomson BankWatch Inc., an affiliate of American Banker, has taken a 45% stake in Focus Investment Rating Company, the first rating agency to be set up in Hungary.

Thomson declined to disclose the amount of equity it was putting in.

The Hungarian agency will provide ratings on bonds, commercial paper, and preferred stock, as well as pension and investment funds, brokerage firms, banks, and other financial institutions.

Jozsef Rotyis, former head of the Budapest stock exchange, has been named head of the new rating company. The other shareholders include 17 Hungarian banks, investment banking firms, brokerages, and public, research, and educational organizations.

Thomson BankWatch already has financial interests in rating agencies in Argentina, Colombia, and Peru, and is forming a joint venture in Ecuador. A spokesman for the rating agency said other alliances are being discussed, but he declined to elaborate.

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