Venezuela and state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) bondholders were not presented with any restructuring plans at a very brief meeting in Caracas today but were instead asked by Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami to “help” the government restructure its debt, two sources with knowledge of the discussions said. Investors are now being asked to partake in future discussions, and the government said it plans to release a schedule in the coming weeks.
The “10-minute” meeting came after President Maduro’s 2 November announcement that the country plans to restructure and refinance its debt, the first source said. Venezuelan officials said the government is being advised by a team of “top lawyers” that have been working on a plan for several months, this source said.
El Aissami spoke to a group that was about 95% locals and 5% international and members of the Presidential Commission for the Debt Renegotiation, the second source said.
In today’s speech El Aissami dedicated most of the time talking about the Trump administration and perhaps one minute discussing plans to organize “working groups” (mesas de negociacion) to discuss the country’s debt, the sources said.
According to El Aissami, Venezuela has been hit with external factors such as “illegal” sanctions imposed by the US via OFAC, and Venezuela and bondholders need to work together to find a win-win solution to service PdVSA and sovereign debt that is based on a sustainability analysis. Venezuela’s vice president also told investors that Euroclear has frozen USD 1.2bn of its bonds and that Deutsche Bank, have closed the country’s accounts effective 15 November, the sources said. Citibank and Citibank China have also closed accounts.
El Aissami said the bondholder discussions would be maintained in observance of UN´s protocols for debt renegotiations, and would be done in an orderly and responsible fashion with Venezuela´s commitment to paying unyielding, the two sources said.