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Bulgaria state energy holding co considers global bond issue
* BEH plans to issue up to $300 million in bonds
* Funds needed to refinance debt to BNP Paribas
* CEO says good to get a coupon of 3.5-4.5 pct
* Plans to sell up to a fifth of BEH on hold for now
SOFIA, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Bulgaria's state energy holding company BEH plans to tap international markets with a bond issue to raise up to $300 million at the beginning of next year to refinance existing debt, its Chief Executive Mikhail Andonov said on Monday.
Speaking on the sidelines of an energy event, Andonov said BEH needed to find a way to pay 195 million euros ($244 million) its NEK unit owes to a syndicate of banks led by BNP Paribas by next May.
Andonov said BEH, whose assets are valued at over 12 billion levs ($7.7 billion), plans to get a credit rating this autumn which he expected to match Bulgaria's sovereign rating. He said the group aimed to issue between $250 million and $300 million worth of dollar-denominated bonds.
"We are thinking U.S. dollars, as the dollar markets are quite deep and resourceful," he said. "It will be good if we can get a coupon at about 3.5 to 4.5 percent."
He declined to elaborate on the maturity of the issue.
In July, Bulgaria tapped global markets for the first time in 10 years, selling 950 million euros worth of new five-year Eurobonds with a coupon of 4.25 percent.
Bulgaria is the European Union's poorest member state, but one of its least indebted, and is rated at investment BBB grade by Standard and Poor's, level with Lithuania and Russia, Baa2 by Moody's and BBB- by Fitch.
All three have a stable outlook on the Balkan country, which had planned to sell up to a fifth of BEH by the end of the year to get fresh finances and help cover its budget shortfall, but Andonov said these were put on hold for the time being. ($1 = 1.5625 Bulgarian levs) ($1 = 0.7989 euros) (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by David Holmes)
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