Mozambique will continue negotiating debt restructuring with creditors, despite a court ruling a government-guaranteed $850 million Eurobond issued by the state fishing company Ematum SA in 2013 was illegal, the finance minister said.
Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane told a business conference in Maputo debt restructuring talks were not in violation of the June ruling by Mozambique’s top court.
The $850 million Eurobond was dubbed the “tuna bond” as it was supposed to finance a tuna fishing fleet and was presented to investors as funding for fishing infrastructure, although much of the cash was later designated for maritime security and reallocated to the defence budget.
In 2016, Mozambican officials agreed to swap the tuna bond’s outstanding $697 million for a sovereign Eurobond.
“Government respects the deliberations of our institutions,” Maleiane said. “The decision of the Constitutional Council is a decision that cannot be overturned. It has to be respected and we are respecting it.”
Maleiane said the restructuring was meant to repay lenders who acted in good faith.
“Government cannot tell bona fide creditors ‘I will not pay back.’ I can’t tell the creditors I am awaiting payment of money taken by those who contracted the loans,” Maleiane said.
“The Attorney General Office has the task of pursuing the $850 million from those who acted in bad faith,” he added.
On Monday government said creditors holding 99.5% of Mozambique’s $726.5 million Eurobond support its debt restructuring proposal, paving the way for an overhaul of its debt burden.