Belarus Pivots to Euro Debt Market as Ties With Russia Fray
(Bloomberg) -- Belarus plans to offer its first euro-denominated bond and the longest debt in U.S. dollars as the former Soviet republic seeks to reduce its economic dependence on Russia.
The east European country, rated B with a stable outlook at S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings, plans to start meetings with investors in the U.S., Frankfurt and London on March 2. It hired Citigroup Inc., Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Societe Generale SA and Renaissance Capital Ltd. to arrange the sale.
For years, Belarus has offered Russia loyalty in return for access to cheap crude and natural gas. Now, it’s trying to loosen the ties as Moscow pushes for deeper political integration with its smaller neighbor. Belarus failed to secure a $600 million loan from Russia and set a target of raising $1.35 billion via international bond issuance this year.
The bond plans come as the coronavirus put the breaks on global issuance. Other signs of resilience are coming from the east: Russia’s EuroChem Group AG and OJSC State Transport Leasing Company also unveiled plans Thursday to sell bonds internationally alongside Belarus.
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