Prime Minister Douglas says St. Kitts and Nevis’ debt will be one of the ‘most sustainable in the region’

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (Photo by Erasmus Williams)

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MARCH 15TH 2012(CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, The Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas is hailing the acceptance of the exchange offer to restructure the external debt as “a historic day for St Kitts and Nevis.”

“The outstanding results of the exchange offer will provide extensive and permanent levels of debt relief to our country. The balances remaining will then be repaid over an extended period at concessional rates of interest, making our debt one of the most sustainable in the region,” said Dr. Douglas in reaction to the announcement.

Dr. Douglas said the outcome “is a resounding affirmation of our determination and perseverance in implementing necessary reforms and in engaging our creditors in a frank and open discussion over the challenges facing the country and the region.”

He thanked the creditors for their cooperation and the support that they have shown for St. Kitts and Nevis.

“We view these results as a vindication of the tough decisions that we have had to take at home against a very difficult global economic back drop. They give us the strength to press on with this process of transformation,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

Financial Secretary, Mrs. Janet Harris said the debt launched on 27th February 2012 has received the overwhelming support of its creditors.

On 14 March 2012, holders of 96.8% of the aggregate amount of bonds and commercial loans eligible to participate in the exchange offer (collectively, ‘Eligible Claims’) had agreed to provide extensive debt relief to the country by exchanging their claims on the Government and its public sector for New Bonds.

Under the terms of the exchange offer, holders of Eligible Claims had the option of exchanging their instruments either for New Discount Bonds denominated in US dollars, or New Par Bonds denominated in EC dollars.

The New Discount Bonds, which are to be partially guaranteed by the Caribbean Development Bank, entail a 50% reduction in face value. The balance is to be repaid over 20years, with coupons set at 6% for the first four years, stepping down to 3%thereafter.

The New Par Bonds will have a final maturity of 45 years, inclusive of a 15-year grace period on principal. Interest is fixed at 1.5% throughout.

Preliminary results indicate that holders with approximately two-thirds of the aggregate amount of Eligible Claims tendered chose to receive New Discount Bonds, with the remainder electing New Par Bonds.

In accordance with the conditions of the exchange offer, the Government will now take the steps required to activate the collective action clauses (CACs) embedded in[four] of the Eligible Claims. Once the Extraordinary Resolutions specified in the Offering Memorandum are approved in bondholder meetings, holders of the 3.2%of Eligible Claims not tendered into the exchange offer will automatically receive New Discount Bonds in exchange for their instruments upon the settlement of the transaction,” said the Financial Secretary.

It is anticipated that after the activation of CACs as described above, 100% of the aggregate amount of Eligible Claims will be restructured.

The exchange offer is expected to close mid-April 2012.

White Oak Advisory LLP is acting as financial advisor to the Government in this transaction.

Clifford Chance LLP is acting as legal advisor.

Background information on the debt restructuring process is available on http://www.sknmof.com/creditors.htm.

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