$750m in Eurobonds center of Corm’s new borrowing program

Finance Minister George Corm said Friday his government plans to issue $750 million of Eurobonds in different currencies next month, part of a new $2 billion borrowing program.

“I’m receiving a lot of financing proposals. A large part of the business community is convinced that Lebanon is now on the right track towards fiscal consolidation,” Corm said.

“We received offers for 15-year maturity but these would raise the cost (of borrowing). We’ll go for seven-year maturity,” the minister said.

He predicted Parliament would pass the 1999 budget next month, containing authorization to borrow $2 billion in foreign currency ­ the third such authorization since 1994.

Investors, the minister continued, were pleased with the government’s commitment to improve the country’s finances through a five-year privatization and tax reform program expected to be approved by Cabinet in one to two weeks

At 13 to 14 percent of GDP, Lebanon had the second biggest budget deficit in the Arab world last year after Kuwait.

The government defied markets in February by issuing a euro-denominated eurobond as part of a dual currency $550 million five-year offering with a yield of 8.5 percent. ­ Reuters





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