Argentina pays holdouts after 14 years, US judge Griesa lifts injunction

Friday, April 22, 2016

Argentina began paying more than $9 billion on Friday to creditors who refused debt restructurings after a record 2002 default, closing the door on messy litigation that had kept the country away from global financial markets ever since.

Payments to the “holdout” bondholders started early on Friday and will wrap up around midday, according to a finance ministry spokeswoman.

“With this signature, we authorize the payment that tomorrow marks the end of an almost 15-year default #ChauDefault,” wrote Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay late on Thursday on Twitter.

The settlement paid on Friday also clears the way for Argentina to resume payments on restructured debt, which US courts had blocked in order to force the country to negotiate with holdout creditors, triggering another default in 2014.

Payments on those restructured bonds should resume in the next few weeks, once a judge in New York confirms that holdouts have been paid, Argentine officials told investors last week.

The government’s greatest success so far came on Tuesday, when Argentina sold $16.5 billion of sovereign debt, the biggest bond sale ever from an emerging market and the country’s first global issue in 15 years. The deal raised funds to pay the settlements on Friday and paved the way for corporate borrowers.

After the payments were made, a statement from Special Master Daniel Pollack said that “as a result of these payments and the previous lifting of the Lock Law and the Sovereign Payment Law by the Argentine Congress, Judge Thomas P. Griesa late this morning lifted the Injunction against Argentina in all cases pending before him.”

“Judge Griesa expressed to me and asked me to make public note of the fact that it gave him the greatest pleasure to be able to exercise his discretion and lift the Injunction as a result of the dramatically changed circumstances in Argentina following the election of President Macri,” the statement added.

 

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