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Ghana, bondholders reach agreement in principle to restructure $13 bln debt, sources say



Ghana, bondholders reach agreement in principle to restructure  bln debt, sources say

ACCRA, June 20 (Reuters) – Ghana has reached an agreement in principle with its bondholders for the restructuring of $13 billion worth of international debt, three sources told Reuters on Thursday, on the heels of a deal finalised with official creditors earlier this month.

The deal will see bondholders take a haircut on principal of up to 37% and maturity of the bonds lengthened, two of the sources said.

The West African gold and cocoa producing nation defaulted on most of its $30 billion in external debt in 2022, under the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and higher global interest rates and surging debt.

Like Zambia, Ghana also signed up for debt treatment under the G20 Common Framework, a process designed to facilitate quick debt overhauls and to bring the newest large bilateral lender, China, into the process.

Zambia’s bondholders signed off on its restructuring earlier this month, after the southern African copper producer became the first African country to default during the pandemic.

For Ghana, “things are pretty close. We can expect an announcement by next week,” one source said, asking not to be named because they were not authorised to speak to media.

The other two sources said the announcement could come as soon as Friday.

Ghana’s finance ministry and the Paris Club, an alliance of creditor nations, could not immediately be reached for comment due to the late hour.

Ghana started formal talks with two groups of bondholders in mid-March – a group of Western asset managers and hedge funds and another one including regional African banks.

The negotiations, however, stalled in April after the proposed deal failed to meet the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) debt sustainability analysis requirements, forcing both sides to regroup to find a suitable solution.

The three sources said the deal had since fit into a revised IMF debt framework on Ghana shared with bondholders earlier, resulting in the agreement in principle.

The world’s No.2 cocoa producer earlier this month agreed a pact with its official creditor committee to formalise a debt restructuring deal reached in January.

The outlines of the agreement paved the way for the IMF executive board to hold a June 28 meeting on Ghana to consider a second review of its $3 billion loan, three-year package and the release of the next tranche of $360 million.

Source: reuters