(Adds timing, context, quote) By John Geddie
LONDON, Oct 9 (IFR) - Slovenia has hired BNP Paribas,Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan to arrange investor meetings in theUnited States ahead of a critical dollar bond issue, accordingto banking sources.
Finance Minister Janez Sustersic told Reuters last monththat the cash-strapped sovereign, rated Baa2/A/A-, planned toissue a USD1.5bn 10-year US dollar bond in the second half ofOctober or in November.
The eurozone member will be hoping the roadshow, whichbegins in the US next week, should garner enough interest froman emerging markets buyer base that supported deals fromlower-rated neighbours Croatia and Serbia earlier this year.
"Demand for euro periphery paper in US dollars should be ok.I do believe they can issue $1.5bn and attract the EM investorbase," said a fund manager.
Slovenia has only issued in euros since it adopted thecurrency in 2007, but was forced to pull a euro-denominated bondearlier this year as market concerns over its debt-ridden,state-owned banks escalated.
With $1.5bn of bond redemptions in early 2013, and a budgetdeficit that soared to 6.4% of GBP in 2011, many believe that ifSlovenia continues to be locked out of bond markets it will haveno choice but to seek official sector aid.
The lead banks and the Slovenian treasury declined tocomment.
(Reporting By John Geddie and Sudip Roy; Editing by NatalieHarrison, Alex Chambers)