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Zambia set to emerge from default after bondholders back $3 bln debt rework

Zambia’s Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane
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Zambia’s Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday that more than 90% of holders of its $3 billion in outstanding international bonds had accepted its restructuring proposal so far, paving the way for the country to emerge from a lengthy default.

Voting on the proposal only finishes officially on May 30.

However, based on the instructions the government had received by May 24, “Zambia expects that the meetings will be quorate and that each of the extraordinary resolutions in respect of each series of existing notes will be approved at the relevant meeting,” the ministry said in a regulatory statement.

Zambia defaulted more than three years ago and is reworking its debt under the Common Framework, a G20 platform to bring together big creditors like China and the traditional group of developed creditor nations, known as the Paris Club, to ensure swift and smooth debt overhauls for low-income countries.

Zambia was widely seen as a test case. But the process has been beset by long delays, which have hamstrung much-needed investments, curtailed economic growth and weighed on local financial markets. A devastating drought had worsened the situation.

Under the proposed plan, bondholders will swap three existing instruments due to mature in 2022, 2024 and 2027, into two amortising bonds, one of which would have higher repayments if the country’s economic outlook improved.

Zambia secured a $ 1.3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund in 2022, which required it to restructure its debt with other creditors.

Zambia’s international bonds traded unchanged, with the 2024 bond indicated at 63.4 cents in the dollar and the 2027 maturity at 75.9 cents, according to Tradeweb data. XS1056386714=TE, XS1267081575=TE

–Reuters

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