Bulgaria Approves EU1.5 Billion Eurobond Sale Before Vote
Bulgaria approved a 1.5 billion-euro ($2 billion) Eurobond sale, the first in almost two years, as the ruling coalition announced it was preparing the way for early parliamentary elections.
Lawmakers in the capital Sofia ratified the borrowing agreements in a 109-33 vote, with 3 abstentions. The bonds may be sold in one or several tranches, Deputy Speaker Aliosman Imamov said in Parliament today.
“The funds will be used to repay about 1.1 billion levs ($698 million) in international debt due January 15 and about 1.3 billion levs in domestic debt maturing this year,” Finance Minister Petar Chobanov said in parliament today. “Part of the proceeds will also cover the planned budget deficit.”
The Finance Ministry declined to give information about the maturity or timing of the sale, which will be managed by Citigroup Inc., HSBC Bank Plc and JPMorgan Securities Plc. The government also hired the Bank of New York Mellon Corp. as fiscal and payment agent under accords signed on May 21, Imamov said.
The European Union’s poorest country in terms of per-capita economic output last tapped global markets in July 2012, selling 950 million euros of five-year Eurobonds. The 4.25 percent coupon bond had a spread of 320 basis points over mid-swaps and re-offer yield of 4.44 percent.
Bulgaria’s sovereign debt is rated BBB by Standard & Poor (SPY)’s, even with Spain, and Baa2 by Moody’s, on par with Brazil. With end-April public debt at 18 percent of economic output, Bulgaria has the second-lowest debt-to-GDP ratio after Estonia in 2013, according to Eurostat. The country also had a fiscal reserve of 6 billion lev, according to the Finance Ministry.
The yield on Eurobonds maturing in July 2017 fell three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 1.372 percent at 1:34 p.m. in Sofia, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The cost to insure Bulgaria’s debt against non-payment for five years using credit-default swaps fell 1 basis point to 120.6, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The Socialist government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski came to power a year ago after anti-austerity protests forced out his predecessor, Boyko Borisov, triggering early elections. Oresharski’s minority cabinet is under pressure to resign after a poor showing at May 25 European Parliament elections.
The Socialist party, which rules in a coalition with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, will discuss with other political forces when to hold early elections, its leader Sergei Stanishev told reporters today. Support for the government has declined, and “elections should not be postponed for long,” Stanishev said.
The opposition Gerb party of former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, introduced a no-confidence motion in parliament over the cabinet’s financial policy, saying this year’s tax collection fell short of planned budget revenue. The vote will be debated and voted on next week. Oresharski’s cabinet survived a previous vote over energy policy on May 30.
The economy expanded 1.2 percent from a year earlier in the first quarter, the same pace as the previous three months, according to the statistics office.