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Zambia negotiating US$ 3.3 billion commercial debt restructuring, after bonds deal

Zambia reached a deal-in-principle with a group of private commercial bondholders, western asset managers and hedge funds to rework about US$3 billion in international bonds on 25 March

Zambia is in talks to restructure US$3.3 billion of commercial debt, after reaching a deal with overseas holders of its sovereign bonds last week, an official said on Wednesday, as the country seeks to emerge from a three-year default.

“We have already started negotiations and with some we are almost reaching there,” secretary to the treasury Felix Nkulukusa said at a public meeting, referring to private creditors other than bondholders.

“The US$3.3 billion is the money that we have to continue engaging (on) and we are engaging in good faith,” he said.

Zambia reached a deal-in-principle with a group of private commercial bondholders, western asset managers and hedge funds to rework about US$3 billion in international bonds on 25 March, bringing it closer to finishing a complex process after multiple delays.

The copper-producing country, which is dealing with a devastating drought, now needs to negotiate restructuring agreements with its other commercial creditors, having also reached a deal with official, bilateral creditors in June 2023.

The remaining commercial lenders include the Chinese state-owned China Development Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the African Export-Import Bank, a regional trade finance provider, and western banks such as Standard Chartered.

Zambia now needs to sign bilateral agreements with each official creditor and execute the international bond “debt exchange”, International Monetary Fund (IMF) resident representative Eric Lautier said at the same meeting.

Official creditors, of which China is the biggest, have already signed a general “principal agreement”, Nkulukusa said.

Zambia’s external debt was US$18.3 billion at the end of 2022, according to the most recent IMF report on the country. About US$13.4 billion of that is being restructured.

 

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Source
Reuters
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