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Belize Defaulted Debt Grace Period Ends on $544 Million of Bonds

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- A 30-day grace period for Belize to make a payment on $544 million of defaulted bonds ends today with the Central American country’s government and creditors still trying to reach an accord.

“While the grace period ends, we do not believe this will interrupt negotiations,” Mark Espat, the government’s chief negotiator in the debt talks, said in an e-mail message. “The government’s view is that a fair and timely resolution is only possible through transparent and good faith negotiations.”

Belize, which has a population of 333,000 people, missed a $23 million interest payment Aug. 20 after Prime Minister Dean Barrow won re-election this year on promises to restructure borrowings. The government is holding talks with a creditor group that holds more than $300 million of debt.

Belize’s bonds due in 2029 fell 0.48 cent to 34.56 cents, according to Bloomberg data, after trading just above 35 cents since the middle of August.

Bank of Nova Scotia and Citigroup Inc. say the government’s three proposals to restructure debt presented Aug. 8 give the securities a net present value of about 20 cents, the least among 16 sovereign debt restructurings since 1998.

AJ Mediratta, a partner at Greylock Capital Management in New York who is leading the investors group, declined to comment on the committee’s negotiations with the government.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Williams in San Jose, Costa Rica at awilliams111@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net

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