BNP Paribas announced today that it acted as the Sole Arranger and Administrative Agent of a 10-bank syndicate providing credit enhancement and liquidity support for The State of California sale of $2.97 billion of variable-rate Economic Recovery bonds ("ERB's). The bonds were supported by a combination of bank credit enhancement and liquidity support. This transaction represents the second series of California State ERB financing; the first $7.9 billion fixed-rate series was sold in early May of 2004. The two series combined totaled $11.3 billion, the largest municipal bond sale in U.S. history. California voters approved $15 billion in ERBs in an early March 2004 election. A dedicated stream of state sales-tax revenue secures all the ERB debt, with a State of California general obligation backup.

Kelly Fowler, Managing Director, heads BNP Paribas' Public Finance Group, which is based in San Francisco with geographic representation throughout the United States. Commenting on the transaction Mr. Fowler stated, "This is a milestone transaction. BNP Paribas has the expertise and execution strength that allowed us to arrange and negotiate documentation with a 10-bank syndicate, combining three different bank products across 21 sub-series of bonds, and under a very tight time frame." Mitchell Ozawa, Managing Director and Relationship Manager added, "We're proud that the State of California picked us to lead a very professional group of people to complete this financing."

Everett Schenk, CEO of BNP Paribas North America, commented on the firm's objectives in the public finance sector in the United States, saying, "Our expansion in public finance underscores our commitment to the U.S. market, and this transaction in particular, demonstrates our multiple capabilities as a full service global institution. As a large global institution with a growing presence in the U.S., we are well positioned to partner with the State of California, the sixth largest economy in the world."

BNP Paribas has been active in the U.S. Municipal Bond Market for over 10 years. BNP Paribas offers U.S. municipalities a variety of tax-exempt credit and capital market products including credit enhancement and liquidity support, tax-exempt derivatives, and municipal depositary and cash management services (through BNP Paribas' wholly owned subsidiary Bank of the West). BNP Paribas also runs and manages a Tender Option Bond Program.

About BNP Paribas:

BNP Paribas ( is a European leader in banking and financial services, with a significant and growing presence in the United States and leading positions in Asia. It is the first-ranked bank in terms of net income (Source: BNP Paribas 2003) and market capitalization (Source: Bloomberg 2003) in the Eurozone. The group has one of the largest international banking networks, with a presence in 85 countries and 89,400 employees, including more than 10,000 in the United States. BNP Paribas enjoys key positions in corporate and investment banking, private banking & asset management, insurance, securities services and retail banking. BNP Paribas is a diversified financial services group operating under the trade name BNP Paribas and offering products through various affiliated entities, including in the U.S., BNP Paribas Securities Corp., a U.S. registered broker / dealer and a member of SIPC.
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For more information, please contact:
Janine M. Mejeur-Haas, Director, Corporate Communications - US
Tel: (212) 841-3070, e-mail: janine.mejeur-haas [at] (dot) com

Melissa Sherer, Press Officer - NY
Tel: (212) 841-3809, e-mail: melissa.sherer [at] (dot) com

Lesley Gordon-Mountian, Corporate Communications - San Francisco
Tel: (415) 772-1518, e-mail: lesley.gordon-mountian [at] (dot) com

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