Lebanese Finance Minister, Fouad Siniora, announced on Friday, April 20, the issuance of $400 million, 15-year bonds, with an annual interest rate of of 11.6 percent. This are the longest-term bonds ever issued in Lebanon, and are meant to replace debt in Lebanese pounds by debt denominated in foreign currency.
The issue will be managed by Credit Swiss First Boston (CSFB), and is subscribed by non-Lebanese investors abroad, mainly from the North America and Europe.
Siniora emphasized that the new issue shows the government’s true efforts towards bringing about economic reform. Additional bond issues totaling $2 billion are still awaiting parliament approval. Additionally, earlier this month Lebanon raised a five-year bond issue from $600 million to $1 billion, as a result of higher than expected demand.
Lebanon’s public debt currently stands at $25 billion—147 percent of the country’s GDP. Lebanese banks bear 80 percent of this debt. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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