UPDATE 3-Ivory Coast sets 2-year target on missed debt payments

Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:57pm GMT

* Three coupon payments missed on 2032 Eurobond

* Bond went into default during 2011 unrest

* Back payments schedule shorter than expected -bondholder (Adds official comments)

By Carolyn Cohn

LONDON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast offered on Monday to make missed coupon payments on a defaulted bond over the two years to December 2014, taking a step on the road to debt market rehabilitation following a civil war.

The West African country also wants to increase the $2.3 billion sovereign Eurobond, which matures in 2032, by up to $187 million in an exchange involving other defaulted debt, a senior finance ministry official said.

"Our payment capacity remains very reduced in the light of the ambitious development programme that we have," ministry chief of staff Emmanuel Koffi Ahoutou told an investor meeting and conference call.

Ivory Coast's economy is forecast to expand by more than 8 percent this year and 9 percent in 2013, but the world's top cocoa grower has been hit by falling food and commodity prices, Ahoutou said, asking bondholders to waive late payment charges on the missed coupons.

Launched in April 2010, the 2032 bond went into default in early 2011 during unrest that descended into civil war following a disputed presidential election.   Continued...

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