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Trinidad Petroleum debt restructuring ‘going well’

Trinidad Petroleum Holding Co Ltd’s attempts to restructure its debt is “going very well,” acting Prime Minister and Finance Minister Colm Imbert said yesterday.

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Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, Imbert said he could not go into detail nor did he want to pre-empt anything about the discussions, because they are still in a “very delicate stage,” but he wanted to make a point regarding an Reuters article published on Tuesday that extensively reported on the status of Trinidad Petroleum’s talks.

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The company, created as part of an effort last year to restructure state oil company Petrorin, is seeking financing to – among other things – settle costs related to the closure of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery, including employee severance packages, as well as pay off or refinance the US$850 million bond issued in 2009 to finance the failed Ultra-low Sulphur Diesel plant.

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That bond comes due in August. While Imbert insisted he was not confirming the accuracy of the report, he said it nonetheless suggested that “the general consensus from international observers is that (Trinidad Petroleum) is on its way to profitability.”

“I said that the discussions that Trinidad Petroleum was having with potential financiers and rating agencies are going very well. I did not (confirm accuracy), I simply said the discussions are going well,” he said

The Reuters article said Trinidad Petroleum had secured new loans of up to US$1.4 billion, using projected oil reserves as collateral. In a brief phone call with the Newsday yesterday, Trinidad Petroleum chairman Wilfred Espinet disassociated the company from the article.

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