July 29, 2018 / 8:20 AM / 19 days ago

Zambia says Turkish firm wants to refinance its $750 mln Eurobond

LUSAKA, July 29 (Reuters) - A Turkish company has expressed interest in refinancing Zambia’s $750 million Eurobond falling due in 2022, Zambian President Edgar Lungu said on Saturday during talks with Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan.

Zambia, whose credit rating was downgraded by Moody’s on Friday, said in December last year that it would begin refinancing Eurobonds worth a total $3 billion in 2019 to reduce the cost of debt servicing for Africa’s No.2 copper producer.

During talks in Lusaka with the visiting Turkish president, broadcast on state ZNBC TV, Lungu said that the firm would send representatives to Zambia in September to discuss details of refinancing.

“We urge you to take keen interest in this matter and encourage the company to pursue this deal without hesitation,” Lungu told Erdogan during the meeting held at State House, but gave no details about the company he mentioned.

As well as the $750 million Eurobond, Zambia has a $1 billion Eurobond due in 2024 and another $1.25 billion Eurobond which will be due for repayment in 2027.

Ratings agency Moody’s on Friday downgraded Zambia’s long-term issuer ratings to Caa1 from B3 and maintained a stable outlook, reflecting ongoing fiscal consolidation challenges.

The International Monetary Fund in February rejected Zambia’s borrowing plans, saying they risked making it harder for the southern African country to sustain its debt load. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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