Argentina makes offer to foreign creditors

The Argentine government has made an official proposal to foreign investors holding $9bn (£6.25bn) in bonds the country defaulted on.

After five days of negotiations in New York, it offered to pay 75% of the amount awarded by US courts in 2012. The long-standing dispute has restricted the country’s access to international credit markets.

The investors bought the bonds at heavily discounted rates after the country’s economy collapsed in 2002. Argentina has now offered $6.5bn to settle the dispute, said court-appointed mediator Daniel Pollack.

“This is the first time Argentina makes a formal offer to the holdouts,” said Argentina’s government in a statement. It added that some funds such as Montreaux Partners and Dart Management had already accepted the proposal.

‘Vulture funds’

Shortly after being sworn in in December, new Argentine President Mauricio Macri opened negotiations with the bond-holders. His predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, had refused to negotiate with the investors, calling them “vulture funds”.

The bonds were bought by hedge funds NML and Aurelius Capital Management for a fraction of their face value in the aftermath of Argentina’s economic collapse in 2001. The South American nation defaulted on its debts at the time.

It has since renegotiated its debts with 92% of the creditors who agreed to settle for one-third of what they were originally owed. However, the hedge funds bought up a large chunk of the remaining distressed debt at low prices, and demand to be paid the full face value of their holding – $1.3bn.

New York Judge Thomas Griesa ruled in 2012 that Argentina must pay the creditors in full. In June 2014, the US Supreme Court declined to hear Argentina’s appeal against the decision. Argentina refused to pay and went on default.

More recently, other bond holders, known as “Me Too”, joined NML and Aurelius in the dispute. Their claims, added to interest incurred since 2012, have increased the amount owed by Argentina.

Earlier this week, Argentina announced it had reached an agreement with Italian investors holding $900m in defaulted bonds.

Source: BBC News

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