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Kenya Will Stick to Schedule for Eurobond Even After Mall Siege

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Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Kenya plans to stick to its schedule and sell an inaugural Eurobond for about $1.5 billion by December, even after the country’s worst terrorist attack in 15 years, Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich said.

“Nothing is changing from our plans,” Rotich said in an interview today from the capital, Nairobi. “The economy is in an upward trend and we don’t expect any major impact from this event. It’s completely isolated.”

As many as 15 gunmen stormed the Westgate Mall in Nairobi on Sept. 21, killing 62 people. Al-Shabaab, a Somali militant group, said it carried out the attack, fulfilling a threat to strike the country after Kenya’s government deployed troops in neighboring Somalia in October 2011 to fight the al-Qaeda-linked militia. While Kenya’s police force said it’s in “full control” of the situation, security forces are struggling to clear out pockets of resistance inside the complex three days into the siege.

The attack, in which more than 200 people were injured, was the deadliest in the country since a 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in downtown Nairobi killed 213 people.

Kenya’s government forecasts the economy will expand 5.6 percent in 2013, the fastest pace in six years, from 4.6 percent last year.

The country may select lead advisers for the planned dollar-denominated debt issuance as early as this week or next, completing a process that began in June, Rotich said. Proceeds from the sale will be used to settle a two-year, $600 million loan agreed last year and pay for infrastructure projects including roads and rail, according to the government.

Kenya’s long-term, foreign currency debt has been assigned a B+ rating by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, four levels below investment grade and on par with Zambia and Cape Verde. It has the equivalent B1 rating from Moody’s Investors Service.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at smcgregor5@bloomberg.net

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