Lebanon Minister Meets Global Banks Ahead of Debt Sale

Updated on
  • Country plans to issue Eurobonds in March: finance minister
  • Lebanon closely watching expected U.S. Fed rate decision

Lebanon’s Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil met with international and local bankers as the most indebted Arab country prepares to tap the bond market in March.

The government has assigned four lenders to handle the upcoming offering, the Al-Akhbar daily reported Tuesday, citing unidentified banking officials. It didn’t identify the banks.

Lebanese officials have been studying international markets before the Eurobond sale, especially developments in the U.S. ahead of this month’s Federal Reserve rates decision at a time of “political ambiguity,” Khalil said in a statement Monday. The government hasn’t disclosed the value of the planned offering.

The war in Syria has battered Lebanon’s economy, pushing more than 1.5 million refugees into the country, closing its only overland trade route and deterring Gulf Arab visitors. Lebanon issued $6.8 billion in Eurobonds in 2015 and 2016, Khalil said, to finance a widening deficit and replace maturing debt.

Representatives from Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays PLC, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Natixis SA, Societe Generale SA, Commerzbank AG, Standard Chartered Bank and Nomura were present at the meeting with Khalil, according to the statement.

(Updates with Al-Akhbar report in second paragraph.)
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