Lebanon’s central bank has told domestic banks to recapitalize through new means, urge big depositors to move funds back to the country and provision for a 45% loss on their Eurobond holdings, according to several circulars published on Thursday, Reuters reported. Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh later told Reuters the measures aimed to strengthen the banking system, paralysed by the worst financial crisis in Lebanon’s history which has been compounded by this month’s Beirut port blast and COVID-19.
North Africa/Middle East
The restructuring of NMC Health Plc through an Abu Dhabi court could cost as much as $140 million in consultancy and legal fees, almost half of what the hospital operator’s administrators are raising in new funding from creditors, Bloomberg News reported. “It’s not cheap and we have the best advisers and the best minds in the world working on the preservation of this business,” acting Chief Executive Officer Michael Davis said in a recent interview.
Lebanon’s central bank will only subsidise fuel, wheat and medicine for three more months, an official source said on Thursday, as critically low foreign currency reserves dwindle, Reuters reported. A central bank official was not immediately available for comment, and the caretaker economy minister referred questions on the matter to the central bank. The source told Reuters the bank had informed the government it would end the subsidies then in order to prevent reserves from falling below $17.5 billion.
NMC Healthcare LLC plans to file for administration in Abu Dhabi, the UAE-based hospitals operator said on Wednesday, as it targets a three-year recovery plan involving a debt moratorium, debt restructuring and asset sales, Reuters reported. Its London-listed holding company NMC Health Plc is already being run by administrators Alvarez & Marsal after going into administration in April following months of turmoil over its finances. NMC Healthcare LLC plans to file for administration with the Abu Dhabi financial centre ADGM, it said in a presentation posted on its website on Wednesday.
Finablr, the payments group embroiled in an accounting scandal, said on Monday that founder BR Shetty would resign as director and co-chairman with immediate effect. The company, which grew out of a United Arab Emirates remittance house and is part of the Indian entrepreneur’s business empire, last month appointed law firm Skadden to help investigate potential wrongdoing and theft in relation to about £1bn of undisclosed debt discovered on its balance sheet earlier this year, the Financial Times reported.
Libya’s sovereign wealth fund head plans to ask the United Nations to allow it to invest billions of dollars sitting idle in its accounts, after missing out on some $4.1 billion (3.1 billion pounds) in potential equity returns during nearly a decade of sanctions, Reuters reported. The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) was blacklisted in March 2011 because it was then controlled by the family of toppled ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Its assets were valued at $67 billion in 2012, but LIA plans to update that in October after a review by its financial adviser Deloitte.
Lebanon may be in line for $298 million in emergency aid after the Beirut port blast, but the more than $30 billion that some estimate it may need to rebuild its shattered economy will not be forthcoming without reform, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. Such change could be stalled by the resignation of Lebanon's government, while a financial rescue plan drawn up in April is likely to have to be reviewed and possibly even ditched by a new administration, two financial sources close to the plan said.
The resignation of Lebanon’s government after last week’s devastating explosion in Beirut threatens to upend any prospect of a debt restructuring deal in the next few months, Yahoo! Finance reported. Senior officials will continue in a caretaker capacity until a new administration is formed. It’s unclear how long that process will take. The Middle Eastern nation defaulted on about $30 billion of Eurobonds in March. Since then, its talks with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout have stalled.
Lebanon's creditors are wary of the risk of even steeper losses as a devastating blast in Beirut complicates an already stalled debt restructuring process, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. Even before Tuesday's explosion in Beirut's port that killed 154 people, progress had been slow on a turnaround from deep financial turmoil that culminated in a default on Lebanon's foreign currency debt in March.
As emergency services assess the toll from Tuesday’s deadly explosion in Beirut, one immediate consequence is becoming clear to analysts: it will ratchet up pressure on Prime Minister Hassan Diab to make meaningful progress in talks with international lenders and investors, Bloomberg News reported. For some observers, that means quickly addressing the internal divisions and foot-dragging that have stalled negotiations with the International Monetary Fund about a $10 billion loan program following the country’s March Eurobond default.