Investors Back Restructuring of International Bank of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan’s biggest bank has begun preparations to be sold to private investors next year after completing a $3.3bn debt restructuring, according to its chairman. State-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan had angered creditors such as Fidelity and Allianz by defaulting on its debt in May and launching a restructuring process, after the collapse in the oil price pitched the lender into trouble, the Financial Times reported. Some international funds accused the bank of inflicting long-term damage to the Central Asian economy’s reputation by imposing haircuts, repayment delays and a forced exchange of bonds for sovereign paper, instead of tapping its national reserves.  However, creditors representing 93.9 per cent of the debt in question voted to approve the restructuring at a meeting in Baku on Tuesday, the bank said. “The fact that the plan was supported by a huge number of creditors is a clear indication that they consider it to be fair and that it considered their interests in the best possible way,” Khalid Ahadov, the lender’s chairman, told reporters. “To this end I don’t believe it will have a negative impact on the image of the country.” Read more. (Subscription required.)