On Friday we told you about the news that government had significantly revised its Superbond offer - and yesterday we learned that the creditor committee likes the new deal. According to an article on nasdaq.com, Belize's creditors have approved the bond restructuring. the article says, quote, "a committee representing the majority of bondholders endorsed a revised proposal from Belize that reduces the interest rate on the note and shortens its maturity." End quote.
The new offer proposes an interest rate of 4.9375%, slightly below the current 5% and significantly lower than the 6.76% that was going to kick in on August 20th. The savings on interest amounts to over 50 million dollars. Additionally, the final maturity date of the bond has been brought forward from 2038 to 2034. Now, the biggest change is on repaying the principal. This was originally scheduled to be done in two payments annually for 19 years, between 2019 and 2038. But it will now be done in five annual payments between 2030 and 2034. That means that for 11 years, payments on the principal will be deferred. This will result in huge cash flow saving for government, as much as 600 million dollars over those 11 years.
In exchange, the Government of Belize has committed to meet certain targets. First, it has to achieve a primary fiscal surplus of at least 2% of GDP for the three fiscal years. If it doesn't it must pay interest on a quarterly basis - as opposed to semi-annually - and seek assistance from the IMF. But that assistance is not in the form of a standby agreement. The official press release simply says, the IMF will analyze "the reasons for the failure to meet the primary surplus target and…make recommendations regarding appropriate remedial measures." Now, that sounds pretty much like an Article IV consultation, which already happens every year - so that is hardly a concession.
Overall, it appears to be a good deal for the Government of Belize, which will allow it to save a significant amount of cashflow in principal and interest payments. But it's not a done deal yet as the creditors have until Friday March 10th to make it official even though they have indicated their assent. The Prime Minister will have a press conference tomorrow to outline the deal, and, we suspect, take a victory lap. We'll have coverage of that in tomorrow's newscast.