Glencore Is Stalling Chad’s Debt Revamp Talks, Premier Says

Chad’s prime minister said Glencore Plc is stalling efforts to restructure the nation’s multilateral debt, and urged the company to expedite discussions on restructuring its commercial loans.

The request adds to pressure from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on Glencore and a syndicate of lenders to renegotiate their $1 billion credit.

Chad in January became the first country to request a debt restructuring under a G-20 relief plan. China, France, India and Saudi Arabia in June agreed to rearrange their loans and back an IMF program to shore up the nation’s economy, but the IMF wants comparable terms with private creditors before proceeding.

“While we got the question of public debt sorted, the question of commercial debt still remains,” Prime Minister Albert Pahimi Padacke said in a phone interview Thursday from the capital, N’Djamena. “Glencore needs to engage with the IMF program. Until they do so, we’re blocked, we’re penalized. All our partners are waiting for this meeting with Glencore to move forward.”

Glencore and the consortium of lenders are in the process of engaging the government of Chad, a spokesman for the company said by email. 

About a third of Chad’s public external debt is owed to Glencore and other commercial lenders under an oil-for-cash program. Glencore, the world’s biggest commodities trader, previously restructured the loan in 2015 and again in 2018.

Glencore’s portion of the syndicated loan is $347 million, according to the company’s latest Payments to Governments Report.

The G-20 initiative aims to help poor countries struggling to repay their debt in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic to either reschedule or restructure their loans. Under the plan, debtors commit to seek similar terms of the resulting bilateral restructuring with private creditors.

Chad, with a $10 billion economy, is one of the world’s poorest countries. It ranks third from the bottom of the United Nations Human Development Index, which includes measures of life expectancy and income per capita.

“I can’t speak for Glencore, but morally it’s pushing 16 million Chadians further into poverty,” Padacke said. “The fact that we can’t solve this issue is making things worse.”

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