Venezuela Offers to Suspend Deadline on $60 Billion of Bonds

Venezuela will push back a legal deadline on $60 billion of defaulted debt in a bid by President Nicolas Maduro to prevent creditors from filing a wave of lawsuits while he attempts to regain recognition from the U.S., Bloomberg News reported. Maduro’s administration announced Thursday it suspended the statute of limitations on bonds issued by the government and state oil company, PDVSA, according to statements published on government websites. The suspension will be in effect for five years or until the US government lifts economic sanctions that prevent a debt restructuring. The statute is set to expire on some bonds in October — six years after Caracas stopped payments on the debt — meaning creditors face losing their right to pursue repayment in court. Bondholders now have to decide whether to accept Maduro’s offer or file suit to protect their claims. The offer by Caracas, known as a tolling announcement, would give the government and creditors more time to work on a potential restructuring. But because Maduro’s government is not recognized by the US, creditors say other guarantees are needed. The Venezuela Creditor Committee, a group of long-term investors holding in excess of $10 billion of the debt, said in a statement that it welcomed the announcement and urged the opposition-led National Assembly to endorse it and the US government to “recognize its validity.” Read more.