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UPDATE 1-Russia's VTB says held talks on Congo Eurobond issue
July 5, 2017 / 12:56 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Russia's VTB says held talks on Congo Eurobond issue

(Adds detail, context)

MOSCOW, July 5 (Reuters) - Russian bank VTB discussed the possibility of the Democratic Republic of Congo issuing a sovereign Eurobond during recent meetings in the central African country, the bank said on Wednesday.

Congolese officials said on Monday that VTB bankers had met with Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala to discuss a possible $1 billion investment fund to finance “strategic projects”.

VTB, whose emerging markets-focused investment banking arm VTB Capital is active in Africa, said in a statement that it had given no commitment to lend to Congo and that it did not currently plan to.

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo talked about issuing a roughly $1 billion Eurobond early last year, but it later abandoned the idea as the country’s economy deteriorated.

Africa’s top copper producer has been hit hard by low commodity prices in recent years.

It has only enough foreign currency reserves to cover about three weeks of imports and its franc currency has lost half its value in the past year.

A spokesman at Congo’s prime minister’s office said on Wednesday he was not aware of recent discussions about a Eurobond.

VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank, played a role in $2 billion of loans taken out in secret by Mozambique, which has since defaulted on repayment.

VTB has denied any wrongdoing relating to the Mozambique transactions.

Reporting by Alexander Winning in Moscow and Aaron Ross in Kinshasa; editing by Maria Kiselyova and Jason Neely

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