Mozambique

Creditors holding 99.5% of Mozambique’s Eurobond support its debt restructuring proposal, the country’s government said in a statement on Monday, paving the way for an overhaul of part of its heavy debt burden, Reuters reported. Mozambique said in May it had agreed a restructuring deal “in principle” with the majority of holders of the $727 million notes maturing in 2023 MZ139100352= after a hidden debt scandal in 2016 prompted the International Monetary Fund and foreign donors to cut off support, triggering a currency collapse and a default on the country’s sovereign debt.

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Mozambique plans to conclude restructuring its dollar bonds by the end of September, almost three years after first announcing the proposal, Bloomberg News reported. The southeast African nation asked holders of $727 million of debt due 2023 to exchange it for $900 million of notes maturing five years later. That’s mainly because the government expects it will have started earning revenue from Africa’s largest liquefied-natural-gas project, and won’t have difficulty in repaying debts.

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Mozambique’s talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are making “encouraging progress,” as the country seeks to restore access to international financing, President Filipe Nyusi said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Mozambique has been battling to recover from a debt crisis after admitting in 2016 to $1.4 billion (£1.15 billion) of previously undisclosed lending, prompting the IMF to cut off support and triggering a currency collapse and debt default.

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Mozambique has put on hold plans to raise funds for its portion of Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s $20 billion gas project, as the government tries to limit its debt sales following a default about three years ago, Bloomberg News reporterd. Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos EP, the national oil company, will revive efforts to raise $2.3 billion for the liquefied natural gas project probably later in the year, after Anadarko starts implementing it, said ENH Chief Executive Officer Omar Mitha. That will help reduce risk and result in better terms, he said.

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Mozambique’s Constitutional Court nullified a government guarantee on a loan linked to the nation’s Eurobonds, potentially undermining a deal reached last week to restructure the debt, Bloomberg News reported. The judgment came three days after bondholders agreed with the government to reorganize $727 million of Eurobonds that Mozambique defaulted on in 2017. While bondholders said the nullification would have no impact on their agreement, lawyers said the decision may invalidate the debt.

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Mozambique’s top court has ruled that a government-guaranteed $850 million Eurobond issued by state-run tuna-fishing company Ematum in 2013 was illegal, court documents showed, Reuters reported. Mozambique has been battling to restructure its finances after the emergence in 2016 of about $1.4 billion of undisclosed borrowing that prompted the International Monetary Fund and foreign donors to cut financial support, triggering a currency crisis and a sovereign debt default.

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Mozambique reached an agreement in principle on key terms to restructure $726.5 million of Eurobonds, in which bondholders will no longer get access to the country’s future natural-gas revenue, Bloomberg News reported. Bondholders will be invited to vote in favor of an exchange of their debt for a new series of securities maturing on Sept. 15, 2031, according to a Finance Ministry statement.

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Mozambique’s restructuring discussions with Russian lender VTB over a loan to the state-owned Mozambique Asset Management (MAM) are in the final stretch, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest country report, Reuters reported. The fund also said the devastation from Cyclone Idai which killed more than 1,000 people across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in March, had severely hit agricultural production and disrupted transport, slashing growth projections by half for this year.

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Mozambique reached an agreement in principle with Russia’s VTB Bank PJSC on the restructuring of a loan that forms part of the nation’s $2 billion hidden-debt scandal, according to the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg News reported. The southeast African nation has sought to restructure the loans since 2016, when the government admitted to the IMF it had contracted the bulk of them in secret, breaching an obligation to notify the Washington-based lender of any new credits. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Mozambican authorities are investigating the loans.

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Credit Suisse Group AG’s recent shareholder meeting took an awkward turn when a Mozambican activist questioned Chairman Urs Rohner over the bank’s role in fraudulent deals that saddled her country with $2 billion of debt, The Wall Street Journal reported. The confrontation halfway through Friday’s meeting was the latest example of the rising international pressure on Credit Suisse to forgive loans it made to Mozambican state-owned companies engaged in an alleged complex fraud, and potentially, to pay damages to victims.

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