Russia's VTB, Mozambique president discuss debt restructure

MOSCOW, Oct 23 (Reuters) - The head of Russia’s state bank VTB Andrei Kostin and Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi discussed plans to restructure Maputo’s debt, with the aim to conclude a deal by the year-end.

Mozambique needs to restructure a $535 million state-backed loan to Mozambique Asset Management (MAM) arranged by VTB. The meeting between Kostin and Nyusi was held on Tuesday, a VTB spokeswoman told Reuters.

VTB said in a statement on Wednesday that Kostin told Nyusi that the Russian bank would like to agree on the debt restructure plan by the end of this year.

“The agreement was reached to continue this discussion to find a final solution,” VTB said.

Mozambique has been battling to recover from a debt crisis after admitting in 2016 to $1.4 billion of previously undisclosed lending, prompting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cut off support and triggering a currency collapse and debt default.

The IMF said in May that Mozambique’s restructuring discussions with VTB over a loan to the state-owned MAM were in the final stretch.

VTB also said on Wednesday that the bank was interested in attracting Russian and foreign investors to Mozambique, including to the agriculture sector, gas industry and energy. (Reporting by Katya Golubkova Editing by Jacqueline Wong)