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Bondholders Approve Re-negotiations and Debt Restructuring for Belize

ON Monday we told you of a letter dated January 6 informing Belize’s bond trustees in New York of the appeal by Belize to restructure its Superbond 2038 due to unforeseen financial challenges experienced in 2016.  Today, we can tell you that the bondholders have approved Belize’s request for renegotiations and a restructured national debt.  According to Reuters News Agency, “The trustee of Belize’s so-called superbond has officially recognized a bondholder committee to hold talks with the government on the country’s third restructuring in a decade.  Funds including Greylock Capital Management and Grantham Mayo van Otterloo joined forces to form the committee, which was assembled last month to represent bondholders.  Now trustee Bank of New York Mellon has formally approved the committee to negotiate with Belize, which says that its US$530m bond, issued in 2013, is unsustainable.  The bond, which comes due in 2038, came out of the restructuring of a previous note that itself was the consolidation of other debt in a 2007 restructuring.  In a memorandum to BNY made public this week, Financial Secretary Joseph Waight said Belize intends to “imminently” seek the consent of bondholders to amend the terms of the notes.  Waight cited “unforeseeable factors” facing the country since the 2038 bond was issued, including a drop in exports, economic contraction last year and damage from Hurricane Earl in August.  The committee said in a note released late on Monday that it looks forward to an “equitable and sustainable” agreement with the government.  But the committee, which also includes Steadfast Insurance Company and Capital Markets Financial Services, wants fiscal reform alongside any potential debt relief for the country.  The committee has retained BroadSpan Capital as financial adviser, Blitzer Consulting as special adviser and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer as legal adviser.  Belize has hired Citigroup as structuring adviser and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton as legal counsel.