Belize Announces Success of Debt Exchange Offer
Wednesday January 31, 1:38 pm ET
Press Release Source: The Government of Belize

BELMOPAN, Belize, Jan. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The Government of Belize announced today that the holders of the country's public external commercial indebtedness have overwhelmingly agreed to exchange their existing claims against the country for new bonds to be issued by Belize maturing 2029.

The exchange offer was launched on December 18, 2006. Holders of the affected debts had until January 26, 2007 to tender their claims into the exchange.

Holders of more than 93% of the debts eligible to participate in the exchange offer (excluding two loans that benefited from an insurance policy issued by a third party) have accepted the offer.

A closing of the exchange is scheduled to take place on February 20, 2007.

Carla Barnett, the Financial Secretary of Belize, said, "The Government of Belize is extremely pleased with the outcome of this exchange offer. It provides a significant degree of debt relief to Belize and firmly places our debt service profile on a sound and sustainable footing. We understand that the only remaining commercial creditor of any significant size (the holder of the insured loans) is currently in discussions with the other parties involved in those transactions. We expect that those arrangements will be completed in time to permit the insured loans to participate in the exchange offer."

"Belize approached this debt restructuring in a fully transparent and co-operative manner," said Mark Espat, Minister of National Development. "Our creditors have reciprocated. We recognise -- and we appreciate -- their cooperation. The level of debt relief requested by Belize was necessary and proportionate to the financial situation facing the country. By their positive response to the exchange offer, our creditors have confirmed that Belize has made a convincing case for the financial terms of the offer."

The new bonds to be issued by Belize will amortise in equal and semi-annual instalments commencing 2019, with final maturity due 2029. The new bonds will carry a coupon of 4.25% for the first three years, 6.00% for years four and five, rising to 8.50% in year seven through to maturity.

Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin acted as the financial advisors to the Government of Belize in the transaction.

D.F. King & Co. acts as the information agent.