The Debt/Equity Swap in Latin America– In Whose Interest?

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5 Scopus citations


This paper presents the basic analytics of a debt/equity swap and illustrates the concept with a detailed example of American Express Bank's swap transactions that began in 1986 and have resulted in construction of seven hotels in Mexico during the course of the swap agreement. The economics of the swap are presented from the lending bank's view, from the foreign direct investor's view, and from the borrowing country's view. It is concluded that: swaps offer net benefits to the borrower country when additional investment is generated (from the swap transaction itself and/or from encouraging further investment as a result of the swap policy); they offer net benefits to the lender when future loan servicing prospects are poor and viable investment opportunities exist; and they offer net benefits to the direct investor when the cost of financing the investment through the swap is less than for alternative financing sources. The analytical framework presented here allows the bank lender to formally compare alternatives of holding impaired LDC loans on its books, selling the loans in the secondary market, trading the loans for loans from another country, and swapping the loans for equity investments in the borrowing country. It similarly allows the government policymaker to compare the relevant economic costs and benefits of swaps, so that better swap policies can be developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-39
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of International Financial Management & Accounting
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Finance


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