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Belize super-bond savvy: country wins LatinFinance award

GeneralBelize super-bond savvy: country wins LatinFinance award

“a precedent for future sovereign restructurings”

Back in 2012, when Belize was in the heat of negotiations with bondholders to restructure the billion-dollar debt acquired under the last administration, some analysts were very critical of the move, claiming that Belize’s restructuring offer was “worse than investors expected” and that it would set a dangerous precedent.

Today, though, it was announced that LatinFinance, the premier financial publication covering the markets of Latin America and the Caribbean, had awarded Belize the “2013 Sovereign Restructuring Deal of the Year,” for the US$547.5MM super-bond debt restructuring concluded in March 2013.

“Negotiated in a period of less than one year, the consensual nature of the collaboration demonstrated between the Government of Belize and the coordinating committee of Belize bondholders to achieve a comprehensive restructuring transaction has been lauded by a number of international agencies and financial institutions, and is being pointed to as a precedent for future sovereign restructurings,” said a statement from the Government of Belize.

The team was led by Ambassador Mark Espat and the members were Minister of Labor, Local Government, Rural Development and National Emergency Management Hon. Godwin Hulse; Financial Secretary Joseph Waight; Governor of Central Bank of Belize Glenford Ysaguirre; Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Belize, Christine Vellos; Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Finance, Allan Slusher; Deputy Advisor to the Ministry of Finance, Yvette Alvarez; and CEO for the Ministry of Economic Development, Yvonne Hyde.

House Speaker Michael Peyrefitte received the award for the Government and people of Belize at an award ceremony held on January 16, 2014, at Gotham Hall in New York, USA.

Also present for the occasion were representatives of the region’s top corporations, sovereign ministries of finance, investment banks and law firms.

Peyrefitte, an attorney, was responsible for arranging a series of top-level meetings between the Prime Minister and the co-chairs of the coordinating committee which led to the key breakthrough in the discussions, and continues to serve as a liaison between Belize and the international financial community, the Government statement said.

“After delivering a well-received acceptance speech, Speaker Peyrefitte was personally congratulated by a number of the attendees, demonstrating the significance of the transaction to the region and its financial markets,” the release also said.

In listing the awardees, which include Mexico for sovereign issuer, LatinFinance said that, “the best of Latin America’s capital market users took full advantage of favorable conditions while they lasted. Hindsight shows the value of doing so.”

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