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Mozambique Debt: Lazard finalising plans for creditor meeting in London

Lazard Freres SAS is wrapping up talks with the Mozambican government for a planned meeting with creditors, said the bank that’s advising authorities on debt restructuring. The nation’s Eurobonds gained.

“We are finalizing our discussions with the authorities and should be able to inform all creditors very shortly,” Michele Lamarche, managing director at Lazard in Paris, said in reply to emailed questions Thursday.

Mozambique’s government plans to meet holders of about $2 billion of its commercial debt to discuss restructuring next month in London, Portuguese news agency Lusa reported earlier, citing Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane. A spokesman for the ministry didn’t respond to calls and an email seeking comment.

The government in 2016 admitted to $1.4 billion of previously undisclosed loans, prompting the International Monetary Fund to withdraw financing, while foreign donors withdrew direct budget support. Mozambique said in October that year it couldn’t afford to service its commercial debt and wanted to restructure it. The government hasn’t met its obligations on the debt since the start of 2017.

A group of owners of the Eurobond started talks on the “process” of the planned restructuring at the start of December. The Global Group of Mozambique Bondholders’ advisers first want to meet Mozambique’s advisers to “define process and to discuss the debt sustainability assumptions before we sit down in their planned March meeting,” Thomas Laryea, the holders’ legal adviser, said by phone.

The bonds gained 2 percent, the most since June, to 87 cents on the dollar by 5:11 p.m. in London, the highest level since April 2016, the month they were sold. The debt’s value rose because government has announced a date for the restructuring discussion, Luc D’Hooge, head of emerging-market bonds at Vontobel Asset Management AG in Zurich, said by email.

Government had initially planned on completing the restructuring process by January last year, it said in October 2016 when it announced it couldn’t service its commercial dollar debts.

Source: Bloomberg

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