Ghana, bondholders’ advisers kick off debt talks under non-disclosure agreements – sources


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Ghana’s government and international bondholders are pushing forward with formal debt talks after advisors to both sides signed non-disclosure agreements, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The West African country, which suspended payments on most of its external debt last year, has picked Lazard as its financial adviser, while a group of international private lenders are represented by Rothschild & Co. Ghana’s dollar-denominated debt is more than $13 billion across maturities ranging from 2023 to 2061, according to Refinitiv data.

After signing the NDAs earlier this month, both parties cannot share any information under the agreement with any non-authorised party.

“The government and the bondholders are sharing sensitive material through the advisers, like the revenues that could be used to service the debt and the restructuring parameters the creditors are aiming for,” said one of the sources, who asked not to be named because talks are private.

Lazard and Rothschild & Co declined to comment.

Steering members of the committee include Abrdn, Amundi, BlackRock, Greylock Capital Management and Ninety One.

Ghana, which is struggling with its worst economic crisis in a generation, has already struck a deal to write down its domestic debt and has also requested to rework its bilateral debt under the common framework platform supported by the Group of 20 major economies.

An official creditor committee for talks with sovereign creditors such as China and the Paris Club is still pending.

Finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta travelled to China last week to discuss on ways to reduce the country’s debt burden and secure additional financing assurances for the economic programme. Ghana recently said it owed to Chinese creditors $1.9 billion.

The country secured a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in December for a $3 billion loan, though asking bilateral lenders to provide financing assurances is a condition for the IMF’s executive board to sign off the programme.

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