February 14, 2018 / 7:44 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 2-Banks chosen to manage new Ivory Coast Eurobond issue, PM says

(Adds quote, growth, deficit, debt load figures)

ABIDJAN, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast has chosen the banks that will manage the issue of a new Eurobond - the West African nation’s fourth in five years - and will announce details in the coming days, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly said on Wednesday.

Ivory Coast is one of a number of African nations - including Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana - which are either planning to tap the international debt market or are weighing an issue this year.

Speaking at a news conference in the commercial capital, Abidjan, Coulibaly decline to name the banks, which he said were chosen on Tuesday, or the amount the government was seeking to raise.

“We’ll go to the international market for an issue in euros,” he said. “We are even imagining international issuances in CFA francs.”

Last week, Finance Minister Adama Kone said President Alassane Ouattara had given a green light to a new Eurobond. He said Ivory Coast would need to raise a total of 1.31 trillion CFA francs ($2.49 billion) from both the international and regional markets.

Prime Minister Coulibaly said Wednesday the government intended to raise 300 billion CFA francs on the regional market.

Since ending a decade-long crisis capped by a 2011 civil war, Ivory Coast has emerged as one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, attracting a wave of foreign investment in everything from large infrastructure projects to retail chains.

It last tapped the debt market last June, raising $1.25 billion in 16-year debt and 625 million euros ($777 million) in eight-year debt, just months after a wave of army mutinies raised fears of a return of political instability.

The unrest, coupled with a major crisis in its cocoa sector last year, have taken some of the shine off Ivory Coast’s post-war success story. But Coulibaly said he did not expect any difficulties attracting investors to the new bond.

“Ivory Coast’s credibility permits it to go to the international market,” he said.

The Ivorian economy expanded by about 7.6 percent in 2017, he said, while the deficit remained at 4.3 percent of gross domestic product. The debt load meanwhile stood at 42.8 percent of GDP. ($1 = 526.4800 CFA francs) ($1 = 0.8043 euros) (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly, writing by Joe Bavier, editing by Larry King)

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