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Government purchase of debt notes confirmed

Market move: the Bermuda Government has repurchased $424 million of its senior notes, while selling $650 million of new bonds as it refinances the national debt (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

More details about the Bermuda Government’s refinancing of a portion of the island’s $2.42 billion net national debt have been revealed.

The Government had said it was looking to repurchase $424 million of its existing senior notes this month. Simultaneously, it was selling $650 million of new senior notes.

In doing so, it has locked in a lower interest rate on that portion of the debt, albeit having to pay that interest for a longer period of time. The old notes had due dates of 2020 and 2024, while the new ones will fall due in 2029.

Notices from the Bermuda Stock Exchange yesterday confirmed that approximately $424 million of the older bonds had been repurchased.

Money from the issuance of the new notes covered the cost of repurchasing the older ones and also netted an additional $226 million.

A government spokeswoman said the offering of the new senior notes had been oversubscribed and “all objectives of the transaction were fully met”.

She added: “The proceeds were used to refinance debt including a $135 million credit facility and finance the anticipated deficit as announced in the 2018-19 Budget.”

Further details about how the Government is using the money, and the impact on the national debt, are expected to be released today. The government has previously projected incurring new borrowing of $89.7 million to finance the 2018-19 deficit.

Earlier this month the Government offered to repurchase a chunk of the outstanding debt in two series of notes that had due dates of 2020 and 2024. It subsequently bought $86.5 million of the 2020 notes, which had an interest rate of 5.603 per cent, that had been tendered by investors before the close of the offer period on November 15. Additionally, a BSX notice stated the Government “further advised that the remaining $137.3 million of notes were redeemed”.

The Government has also repurchased $200 million of the 2024 senior notes, which had an interest rate of 4.854 per cent and were tendered by investors within the offer period. A total of $550 million of those notes remain outstanding.