Ivory Coast Is Said to Weigh Five Lenders for Eurobond Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Ivory Coast is considering five banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Deutsche Bank AG for an upcoming sale of Eurobonds, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The West African nation also wants BNP Paribas SA, Natixis SA and Societe Generale SA to market the debt, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. Ivorian Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly told reporters on Wednesday that the government decided on the lenders that will manage the issuance, but didn’t identify them.

Spokesmen for SocGen, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and JPMorgan declined to comment when contacted by email. Natixis didn’t immediately respond to calls and emailed questions.

The government is busy giving formal mandates to the banks, said one of the people.

Ivory Coast wants to hold a roadshow for the sale of 850 million euros ($1.1 billion) to 1 billion euros of debt before the end of March, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month. Ivory Coast will raise at least 300 billion CFA francs ($559 million) of its 1.3-trillion francs debt-raising target for 2018 on the regional West African market, Coulibaly told reporters in the commercial capital, Abidjan, without elaborating on the exact amount of the Eurobond sale.

Franc Tranche

The sale will include euro securities and possibly a tranche denominated in the euro-pegged franc that’s used in eight countries in West Africa, said Coulibaly.

Ivory Coast will join other sub-Saharan African issuers including Kenya and Ghana that are rushing to sell debt at a time when the U.S. Federal Reserve remains on its policy-tightening path, pushing yields higher. The country issued $1.25 billion of bonds in June 2033 with a 6.25 percent rate, and 625 million euros of eight-year notes yielding 5.125 percent in an auction that attracted almost $10 billion in bids in June.

The yield on the 2033 bond dropped 9 basis points to 6.56 percent at the close on Thursday.

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