Lebanon mandates banks for Eurobond refinancing

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Lebanon has mandated Bank of Beirut and Credit Suisse to lead manage a refinancing of Eurobonds maturing this month, a source at the finance ministry said on Friday.

Finance Minister Raya Al-Hassan had told Reuters last month that she planned to refinance more than $800 million of maturing debt in November and aimed to combine that with a rollover of some debt maturing next year.

A decision on that would require ratification of the 2010 budget which has been stuck in parliament since June due to political wrangling, with no sign of it being ratified soon.

Lebanon, one of the most highly indebted counties, sold a $1.2 billion 10-year Eurobond in March which attracted bids for three times the issue amount, indicating strong demand for its sovereign debt.

Lebanon’s debt is expected to rise to $55 billion in 2011 from around $51 billion this year but strong economic growth has helped reduce its debt-to GDP ratio to 147 percent in 2009 from around 180 percent previously. Hassan said she expected it to be at around 129 percent in 2010.


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