Antigua issues first US dollar bond on Regional Government Securities Market

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, July 31, 2006 – The Government of Antigua and Barbuda made history on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 by issuing the first ever US dollar denominated bond on the Regional Government Securities Market (RGSM). In total, the Government sought to raise US$26 million at an interest rate of 8%. At the close of auction the bond issue was fully subscribed with local, regional and international investors successfully bidding for a piece of this seven year instrument. This US$26 million bond, which is equivalent to EC$70 million, was the first long term security issued by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda on the RGSM.

Investors in the bond include individual and institutional investors from Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Barbados, Jamaica, Canada, New York and Atlanta. The minimum bid was US$2000 while the largest bid amounted to US$5 million. The Minister of Finance and the Economy, Dr. Errol Cort, indicated that he was extremely pleased with the results of the auction and thanked all the investors for continuing to demonstrate their strong belief that Antigua and Barbuda offers viable investment opportunities. The Minister pointed out that this significant support for the Government’s securities is indicative of the investors’ confidence in the policies and programmes for transformation, which are being undertaken by Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and the UPP Administration.

Dr. Cort further stated that the extensive road show programme, undertaken earlier this year, was undoubtedly a major element in the significant success of the Government’s treasury bills and bond programme. Overall, the Government’s objective is to raise a total of EC$151 million on the RGSM and, to date, the Government has already raised a total of EC$121 million.

The Government will seek to raise the final EC$30 million by issuing an EC$30 million five year bond on Thursday, July 27, 2006. The Honourable Minister of Finance and the Economy anticipates that this, too, will be a success and encouraged investors to take the opportunity to invest in this EC$30 million bond.

Dr. Cort reiterated the Government’s commitment to meeting its obligations in respect of securities raised on the RGSM and pointed out that all the necessary mechanisms were in place to ensure timely and consistent repayment of interest and principal on these securities. He further asserted that, come January 2007 when the first payment of interest and principal on the US$26 million bond becomes due, the Government will make the necessary payments to all investors.

Finally, the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Economy expressed his gratitude to the ABI Bank Ltd. for its continued hard work in facilitating the success of the treasury bills and bond programme. (Government of Antigua)

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