Gabon pays delayed Eurobond coupon: government
By Tosin Sulaiman and Bate Felix
LONDON (Reuters) - Gabon has paid a delayed coupon on its $1 billion Eurobond after settling a dispute with a South African company that had frozen bond payment funds via a court order, an adviser to the Gabon government said on Friday.
This means Gabon, one of the few sub-Saharan African countries to have issued dollar bonds, has managed to avoid falling into default because it has paid the $32 million coupon, originally due on June 12, within the 10-day grace period.
"The coupon has been paid...as we said we would do," Serge-Maurice Pambou, adviser to Gabon's economy minister, told Reuters.
This was the second time Gabon was forced to delay payouts to bondholders, following a previous case in 2008 and Pambou said there would be no repeat.
"Following the instructions of the head of state, the government has been asked to...make sure things like this do not happen again," he said.
Earlier on Friday, Standard & Poor's affirmed its BB- rating on Gabon with a stable outlook.
"We consider that the delayed coupon payment was unrelated to Gabon's ability and willingness to make that payment," S&P said.
"In our view, the government moved quickly to unfreeze the funds in order to service its debt within the contractual grace period." Continued...