Ivory Coast Plans $1 Billion Eurobond Sale by End of July

  • West African nation previously sold Eurobonds in 2014, 2015
  • Debt will probably have 10-year maturity, banks not yet hired

Ivory Coast plans to sell at least $1 billion in Eurobonds by the end of July to raise funds for infrastructure projects, the country’s first issuance of international debt since 2015, according to two people with knowledge of the plans.

The government is negotiating to sell bonds with 10-year maturity and the sale will probably happen in June or July, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because a public announcement hasn’t been made.

The West African nation is yet to decide which banks will be hired as financial advisers and a roadshow will be held in London and the U.S., according to the people. Ivory Coast sold $1 billion of debt in 2015 and $750 million in 2014.

Government spokesman Bruno Kone said by phone that Ivory Coast plans to sell Eurobonds this year but that he couldn’t confirm the details. The bond sale “is in our interest given the economic climate,” he said, without elaborating further.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara was forced to reduce this year’s budget after a slump in prices for the nation’s biggest cash crop, cocoa. While lower cocoa prices are weighing on income, expenses have soared as the government has tried to defuse social unrest by agreeing to pay bonuses and arrears to soldiers and civil servants earlier this year.

"I’m sure there’s concern about the military and cocoa prices," said Kevin Daly, a London-based money manager at Aberdeen Asset Management Plc who helps oversee $11 billion in assets. "But I think they’ll still find a receptive audience if they provide some premium over the existing curve. Somewhere in the region of 50 basis points should suffice."

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