(Corrects reference to May debt swap to show that it did not increase the overall size of government debt)
BEIRUT, March 10 (Reuters) - Lebanon’s finance ministry has mandated Barclays Plc, Byblos Bank, Societe Generale de Banque au Liban and JPMorgan to refinance a $1.5 billion Eurobond with settlement on March 20 and is planning three tranches, a ministry official said.
The three potential tranches would be 10 years, 15 years and 20 years, the official added.
“We will be issuing under the existing programme which is called the MTN - the medium-term notes - programme,” the official said.
The securities would be Reg S registered.
“The ministry is currently observing the changes on the yield curve in the United States ahead of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting on Wednesday,” the official said.
“We are observing this closely we will see how that will impact our initial price talk, and how it will ultimately impact the pricing.”
Lebanon’s most recent international debt issuance was a $1 billion bond in April 2016, split between an April 2024 tranche and an April 2031 tranche.
Last May, the government conducted a debt swap whereby it issued $2 billion worth of Eurobonds in a private transaction with the central bank in return for an early redemption for the same equivilent amount in Lebanese pound T-bills, the finance ministry official said.
The official added that the central bank later sold the Eurobonds to Lebanese commercial banks as part of financial engineering it was conducting at the time to raise currency reserves.
Lebanon is rated B2 by Moody‘s, and B-minus by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch. (Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Gareth Jones)