• Lebanese Finance Ministry issues $1.28bn in eurobonds
  • Coupon rates are between 6.25 and 7.05 per cent

Lebanon’s Finance Ministry says it has issued $1.28bn of eurobonds.

US-based Citibank, the UK’s Standard Chartered and local Fransabank and Societe Generale de Banque au Liban arranged the issuance.

Lebanon’s debt limit is $2.5bn, of which $2.2bn was issued in February, while $1bn matured over the third quarter. The issuance, therefore, included swaps of $318m out of a total of $750m of debt due in January 2016, according to local daily L’Orient Le Jour.

The new debt consists of a $500m tranche due in 2024, with a coupon rate of 6.25 per cent; a $500m tranche due in 2028, with a coupon rate of 6.65 per cent; and a $600m tranche due in 2035, with a coupon rate of 7.05 per cent.

The issuance was 13 per cent oversubscribed, while 10 per cent of investors were foreign.

Lebanon has a rating of B- from the US’ Standard & Poor’s, B2 from the US’ Moody’s Investors Service and B from UK/US Fitch Ratings.

The country’s gross external debt reached 162.5 per cent of GDP in 2014, according to the US-based IMF, as the government consistently runs a fiscal deficit of between 6 and 10 per cent of GDP.

Lebanon’s economy is suffering under the strain of the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis. GDP growth has slowed to 2 per cent this year, according to the IMF.

The interest of foreign securities investors is encouraging, however. Iraq was forced to put plans to issue international debt on hold due to prohibitive pricing levels, about 10 per cent.

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