UPDATE 1-Belize central bank says launches debt exchange offer

Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:38pm EST

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BELIZE CITY Feb 15 (Reuters) - Belize's central bank on Friday launched an offer to restructure a $550 million superbond, and said it would not close it unless bondholders agreed to tender at least 75 percent of the outstanding 2029 bonds.

Belize said this week it was confident creditors would accept a restructuring of the superbond, which will mean a longer maturity and lower interest payments.

Under the offer, the maturity will be extended by nine years to 2038 and the interest rate will be set initially at 5 percent for 4.5 years, stepping up to 6.767 percent for the remaining term - a reduction from the current 8.5 percent rate.

The bank said creditors must tender their bonds no later than March 8, and that the transaction was expected to close and the new bonds were expected to be issued on or around March 20.

"Interest on the new bonds will commence accruing on March 20, 2013," the bank said.

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