March 8, 2018 / 1:45 PM / 15 days ago

UPDATE 1-Montenegro aims to tap bond markets to raise up to $620 mln

(Adds finance minister quotes, background)

SARAJEVO, March 8 (Reuters) - Montenegro aims to tap bond markets soon to raise up to 500 million euros ($620 million), a state treasury official told Reuters.

“Conditions have been met for the issuing of the seven-year bond soon,” Katarina Zivkovic, the official at the state treasury directorate, told Reuters.

Separately on Thursday, Montenegro’s finance minister was quoted as saying by web portal that proceeds from the issue would be used to finance maturing debt and repurchase shares in power utility EPCG from Italian regional utility A2A.

“We expect the paper can be priced at a yield ranging from 3.25 percent to 3.5 percent,” Finance Minister Darko Radunovic said.

A2A, which holds a 41.7 percent stake in EPCG, said last June it aimed to sell the entire stake in the utility. The remaining stake is owned by Montenegro’s government.

Radunovic said talks with A2A were underway. “We are planning to secure some 70 million euros to repurchase the shares. The details of the talks will soon be made public. We will secure all prerequisites to find a new strategic partner in a public and transparent manner,” he added.

The public debt of Montenegro stood at around 67 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) last year.

The International Monetary Fund said in a report on Wednesday the country should improve its primary fiscal deficit by 3 percentage points of GDP to 1.6 percent of GDP. (Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Toby Chopra and Mark Potter)

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