World Economy

StanChart in Talks on $2b Iraq Bond Sale

StanChart in Talks on $2b Iraq Bond SaleStanChart in Talks on $2b Iraq Bond Sale

Standard Chartered Plc is in talks with Iraq’s Finance Ministry to take part in a $2 billion bond sale this year after OPEC’s second-biggest producer revived plans to tap international debt markets to finance its budget deficit.

The London-based bank is also holding talks with other government institutions about their financing needs, Andreas Meletiou, Standard Chartered’s chief executive officer in Iraq, said in an interview on Tuesday in Beirut, Bloomberg reported.

“We also want to partner with the Iraq government in their efforts to rebuild Iraq and assist in the modernization of the banking sector,” Meletiou said.

Iraq, grappling with tumbling oil prices and the war with Islamic State militants, may sell Eurobonds in the second half of this year, Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari said in February. Authorities also expect to receive about $6 billion in aid from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank this year, central bank chief Ali Al-Allaq said in a separate interview on Tuesday.

A planned sale was halted last year because investors demanded yields that the government deemed too high. Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co. had been working on that deal.

“We have been in discussions with the Ministry of Finance on its $2 billion bond issuance, anticipated to take place in 2016,” Meletiou said.

The bank’s main focus in Iraq is to serve international clients operating in the country’s power, water, oil and gas industries, telecoms and infrastructure, he said. A plan for a third branch is on hold until the country’s security and economy improve, he said.