Belize creditors form committee on debt payments

NEW YORK, June 15 Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:32pm BST

NEW YORK, June 15 (Reuters) - Creditors holding over $200 million worth of Belize's sovereign debt have formed a committee to address concerns over the government's statements that it is considering amending the terms of payment.

The ad hoc committee, in a press release dated June 13 and re-distributed on Friday by EMTA, the trade association for the emerging markets debt trading and investment industry, said it is encouraged by its initial correspondence with the government over the $550 million "super bond."

"While we are sympathetic to the challenges facing Belize, any proposed amendment that results in a net present value or principal loss to creditors would not, based on the committee's current understanding of the situation in Belize, be considered acceptable or, for that matter, necessary," AJ Mediratta, a partner at Greylock Capital Management and chairman of the committee, said in the release.

Belize, a small Central American nation of roughly 313,000 people, hopes to restructure the bond before an interest payment of $23.5 million is due in August, after the interest rate stepped up to 8.5 percent this year.

The bond's yield trades at 1,781 basis points over U.S. Treasuries, well above levels for nations such as Pakistan or Venezuela, according to Reuters data.

Belize's prime minister, Dean Barrow, said on June 7 that initial talks with the International Monetary Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank over restructuring the debt had gone well.

Barrow said the budget, which will contain economic projections and details of the newly re-elected government's planned spending, will be presented on June 22.

The committee's financial adviser is BroadSpan Capital LLC. (Reporting by Daniel Bases; Editing by Leslie Adler)