September 27, 2019 / 2:36 PM / 22 days ago

Roadmap for Puerto Rico's exit from bankruptcy filed in U.S. court

SAN JUAN, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Puerto Rico would reduce its core government debt by more than 60% under a restructuring proposal the bankrupt U.S. commonwealth’s federally-created financial oversight board filed in court on Friday.

The so-called plan of adjustment covering $35 billion of bonds and claims and more than $50 billion of pension liabilities would allow Puerto Rico to exit a form of bankruptcy that commenced in May 2017 if approved in U.S. District Court.

“Today we have taken a big step to put bankruptcy behind us and start envisioning what Puerto Rico’s future looks like under fiscal stability and economic sustainability,” the oversight board’s chairman, José Carrión, said in a statement.

Owners of bonds issued by Puerto Rico, its Public Buildings Authority and Employees Retirement System would face haircuts on their initial investments ranging from 28% to 87%.

The board, meanwhile, is trying to void over $6 billion of general obligation bonds sold in 2012 and 2014 on the basis they were issued in violation of Puerto Rico’s constitutional debt limit. The plan includes a settlement mechanism for challenged bonds.

Annual debt service would be reduced to 9% of government revenue from 28%, according to the board.

The plan creates an independent reserve trust for Puerto Rico’s pay-as-you-go public sector retirement system. Monthly pension payments totaling over $1,200 would be cut by 8.5%, affecting about 40% of retirees.

So far, Puerto Rico has won court approval for debt restructurings for its Government Development Bank and Sales Tax Financing Corporation known as COFINA. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority moved closer to exiting bankruptcy earlier this month when two holdout bond insurers joined a deal to restructure its debt. (Reporting By Luis Valentin Ortiz in San Juan and Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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