The Government of Belize has officially announced that the majority holders of the Superbond have been paid off. The government issued a release earlier today saying that with the clearing of the Superbond, Belize has reduced the principal amount of its external indebtedness by approximately U.S.$250 million (representing approximately 12% of Belize’s gross domestic product), which will significantly improve the sustainability of its financial position. Prime Minister John Briceno was quoted as saying that, “The Government of Belize is delighted to announce the successful settlement of this important and ground-breaking transaction,” He added that the government’s expectation is that, “this transaction will pave the way for strong and long-lasting economic growth and allow Belize to achieve its marine conservation objectives.” Belize financed the purchase and the Redemption of its Bonds with funding provided by a subsidiary of The Nature Conservancy (“*TNC*”) as part of TNC’s Blue Bonds for Ocean Conservation program, which uses private capital to refinance public debt of participating countries in order to support durable marine conservation efforts and sustainable marine-based economic activity. Affiliates of Credit Suisse Group AG arranged the financing transaction. The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation provided political risk insurance and the U.S. Embassy in Belize also provided significant support for the transaction. TNC issued a release earlier today; here is that clip.
Jennifer Morris, Chief Executive Officer, The Nature Conservancy: ““I am pleased to congratulate the people and the Government of Belize on your successful restructuring of sovereign debt through the Blue Bond Financing resulting in debt forgiveness and long term sustainable financing for marine conservation. The Nature Conservancy has been pleased to partner on this effort which will expand biodiversity protection zones to cover 30% of Belizean waters and improve management across all its oceans. This effort makes Belize one of the first nations to commit to protecting a third of its ocean habitats for biodiversity. By restructuring more than $500 million dollars in debt Belize will be able to provide millions of dollars in conservation grants through a new conservation fund and an endowment. Most importantly Belizeans will be in the driver’s seat to define the priorities for conservation through the Marine Spatial Planning Process and by guiding the conservation fund, identifying those projects where investments can best support Belize’s biodiversity, it’s culture and its economy. Belize has been a global leader in conservation and sustainable management and is now demonstrating that debt strategies can be an important solution for financing conservation around the world. I’m so happy to be celebrating this achievement by and for the people of Belize.”
Holders of the Superbond were paid off today as government officials have finalized the tender offerings with more than eighty seven percent of the bondholders. The majority bondholders will be paid fifty-five cents on every dollar owed to them. Love News understands that the remaining thirteen percent will be dealt with down the road in accordance with the agreement reached with the majority. The Superbond was brought about under the Musa Administration back in 2007/2008 when the government sought to carry out a debt consolidation. In several instances the government has had to revisit the repayments and had rescheduled the bond on three occasions. The bond is being paid off by the Credit Suisse Group of Switzerland through the Nature Conservancy (TNC). A joint press conference with the Government of Belize and TNC is scheduled for early next week.