Republic of Côte d’Ivoire in London Club Debt Exchange Offer
April 16, 2010
Cleary Gottlieb represented the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire in connection with its recent exchange offer that restructured over 99% of the country’s $2.8 billion Brady bond debt, which had been in default since 2000.
Côte d’Ivoire accepted tenders of six series of defaulted Brady bonds in the exchange offer, consisting of French franc- and U.S. dollar-denominated discount bonds due 2028, front-loaded interest reduction bonds due 2018 and past due interest bonds due 2018, and issued $2.3 billion principal amount of new U.S. dollar-denominated step-up bonds due 2032 in exchange. The offer closed on April 16.
The debt renegotiation and the exchange offer were conducted within the framework of the International Monetary Fund’s and the World Bank’s initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries, and in accordance with the terms of a preliminary restructuring agreement reached with the Private Creditors Coordination Committee (London Club), a group of institutional bondholders, in September 2009.
The exchange offer, which included a 144A offering and an international offering, had several notable features. Due to the rebuilding of Côte d’Ivoire’s institutions in the wake of civil conflict and the resulting absence of reliable macroeconomic data, the offer did not involve the preparation of extensive country disclosure or the issuance of negative comfort letters by counsel. Due diligence for the transaction consisted principally of an investor meeting with representatives of the Republic held in Paris on March 23. The transaction also featured complex mechanics related to the liquidation of the principal and interest collateral. In addition, the exchange offer included exit consents to amend the existing bonds not tendered in the exchange, which were approved at bondholder meetings held at Cleary Gottlieb’s Paris office on April 6. Application will be made to list the new bonds on the Luxembourg stock exchange.