Last year the Chase Manhattan Luxembourg S.A. Bank granted Ukraine a fiduciary loan totaling $98.89 million at 9.2% annual interest. October 20 is the pay back deadline. As we know, the government does not have enough money to cover its foreign debt. Representatives of the Ministry of Finance in London are already negotiating with the bank possible delays in paying back $110 million. What shall we do?
Prime Minister Valery Pustovoitenko and Minister of Finance Ihor Mitiukov refused comment on the situation. However, the Prime Minister calmed us, as usual, by saying: “We shall work out a proper solution to this problem.”
Deputy Finance Minister Serhiy Makatsary provided more detail: “We offered the Chase Manhattan Bank a conversion scheme, identical to the one we used with Merrill Lynch. In other words, we are discussing with them conditions of restructuring the debt for two years with a 20% monetary payoff. In case we succeed in these negotiations, the bank will reinvest the money into two-year eurobonds, and Ukraine will pay off only $21.8 million, saving $87.2 million.”
In this case, the Ministry of Finance representative is slightly exaggerating by saying saving, because Ukraine will still have to pay this money and interest back, but we will be able to do it later. The new pay deadline will be announced after the negotiations.
PS: According to the deputy minister, since the beginning of the year Ukraine paid over Hr 2 billion to cover its foreign debt and attracted Hr 3 billion, from which Hr 809 million was granted by the World Bank. As of the last weekend, the foreign state debt of Ukraine totaled $10.85 billion.