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Ivory Coast plans $1bn Eurobond early next year

December 17, 2013

ABIDJAN: Ivory Coast plans to issue a $1 billion Eurobond, the country’s first venture onto the international capital market since a 2011 default caused by a post-election civil war.

With that crisis over, the government of President Alassane Ouattara has resumed coupon payments on the defaulted $2.5bn Eurobond, which matures in 2032, and has launched a large-scale overhaul of long-neglected infrastructure.

“As soon as January, I hope we will finalise the signature of a Eurobond of practically $1bn to try to accelerate a certain number of projects,” Ouattara said in comments broadcast on state-owned radio late on Sunday.

He gave no further details. An advisor at the finance ministry confirmed the amount International bond issuance by African sovereigns has reached a record high of $8bn this year, according to are port by Moody’s released in October, as countries seek to diversify funding sources for infrastructure.

Ivory Coast’s 2032 Eurobond has emerged as one of non-oil producing Africa’s best-performing credits after the country secured $4bn in debt relief in June 2012 under the IMF-World Bank scheme.

Despite Ivory Coast’s chequered history — the 2032 bond was itself issued to restructure defaulted debt dating back to 2000- Samir Gadio, an emerging markets strategist at Standard Bank, expected a strong appetite for the new bond.

“I think it will be well received by the market,” he told Reuters. “Ivory Coast has a good economic rebound story and the macro economic fundamentals are decent.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa grower and French-speaking West Africa’s largest economy, recorded GDP growth of 9.8pc in 2012. The government says it will equal that growth rate this year and that the economy will expand by 9.1pc in 2014.

If negotiations for the new bond are completed in Jan as Ouattara expects, the new credit would probably be marketed from February or March, Gadio said.—Reuters