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Capital Markets

Argentina: Repayment efforts still to convince investors

International market access not yet certain.

The Argentine government has awarded Barclays Capital the mandate to reach an agreement with the hold-outs on about $20 billion of defaulted sovereign debt.

The government had received separate proposals from Deutsche Bank, Citi and Barclays Capital about restructuring the debt but on 25 September appointed the UK bank to move forward with its plan for the bondholders that rejected the 76% haircut on the country’s $88 billion of defaulted sovereign debt. The last restructuring of this debt was in 2005.

On 2 September, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the Argentine president, also announced that the government would use central bank reserves to repay the $6.7 billion of debt in full.

The terms of the deal with the hold-outs is not yet clear but the bondholders are making it clear that the offer must be more generous than the 2005 restructuring. It is understood that the government will offer them new paper on more generous terms over an extended tenor, so that it does not have to bite into central bank reserves yet again.

Second thoughts about Chávez

The government has decided to move on the Paris Club and the hold-outs following Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez’s decision to churn a costly $1 billion Argentine bond soon after acquiring it in August, which precipitated a steep rise in the cost of Argentine debt.

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