(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 the United States ahead of a critical dollar bond issue, according to banking sources.
Finance Minister Janez Sustersic told Reuters last month that the cash-strapped sovereign, rated Baa2/A/A-, planned to issue a USD1.5bn 10-year US dollar bond in the second half of October or in November.
The eurozone member will be hoping the roadshow, which begins in the US next week, should garner enough interest from an emerging markets buyer base that supported deals from lower-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 investor base," said a fund manager.
Slovenia has only issued in euros since it adopted the currency in 2007, but was forced to pull a euro-denominated bond earlier this year as market concerns over its debt-ridden, state-owned banks escalated.
With $1.5bn of bond redemptions in early 2013, and a budget deficit that soared to 6.4% of GBP in 2011, many believe that if Slovenia continues to be locked out of bond markets it will have no choice but to seek official sector aid.
The lead banks and the Slovenian treasury declined to comment.
(Reporting By John Geddie and Sudip Roy; Editing by Natalie Harrison, Alex Chambers)