NEW YORK, N.Y. - Chase Manhattan Corp. has launched a $150 million sovereign credit for the Republic of Colombia.

The three coarrangers that have signed onto the deal are J.P. Morgan, the Industrial Bank of Japan, and Dresdner Bank.

Chase is comfortable with the credit to Colombia, which unlike some of its neighbors, did not reschedule its debt or go through a Brady Bond program.

Colombia has "always been one of the most highly respected borrowers in Latin America," said Stephen Thorington, a vice president at Chase.

An upgrade this week by Moody's Investors Service of Colombia's sovereign foreign currency debt to Baa3 from Baa1 generated some potentially positive momentum for the deal.

The group is looking for 12 to 15 banks to join the credit, which is priced at the London interbank offered rate plus 125 basis points.

Banks were invited in at three tiers, $20 million, $15 million, and $72.5 million.

"The Republic of Colombia has been the most sophisticated issuer among all emerging-market borrowers," said Mr. Thorington.

Colombia has been to the Yankee bond market, the Eurobond market, the European medium-term note market, the domestic dollar market, and "decided to access the very liquid bank market as well," Mr. Thorington said.

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