The Mass Transit Railway Corp (MTRC) yesterday placed a US$60 million 20-year note to an unnamed international investor through investment bank Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, the longest tenure it has ever achieved in its financings. The note, issued under the MTRC's debt issuance programme, carries a coupon of 8.375 per cent per annum payable semi-annually, representing a spread of approximately 300 basis points above US treasuries. The MTRC believed the tenure for the issue was also the longest for a debt issued by a Hong Kong entity since the onset of the Asian crisis. The issuing spread was significantly tighter than those of other comparable Asian credits in the secondary market, the MTRC said, reflecting strong confidence in the credit standing of the company and Hong Kong over the long term. An MTRC spokesman said the corporation's core business of investing in and operating railway infrastructure was always a long-term venture and required such long-term financing. She said the MTRC would do a Hong Kong dollar-denominated issue with a tenure as long as this one when it could secure attractive pricing and locate investors for such an issue. The corporation has raised new financing in excess of HK$10 billion so far this year, including a recently-completed HK$4.125 billion syndicated loan facility, HK$1 billion of issues under the note issuance programme managed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority; and more than HK$2 billion of issues under the debt issuance programme.