(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroonian Minister of Finance, Louis Paul Motazé, signed last week in Yaoundé a debt restructuring plan over 10 years with Maos Borg Gaard, Managing Director of the oil trader PSTV.
The plan concerns the CFA8.5 billion debt (with 5.5% interest) owed by the public refinery Sonara. In September 2022, the Cameroonian government has reached a similar deal with Swiss trader Vitol for a debt of CFA185 billion still owed by the state-owned refinery. Deals with two other traders, namely Addax and Petra, should soon follow, we learned.
According to the government, the restructuring of Sonara's debt -the most indebted public company according to the scores of the Autonomous Amortization Fund (CAA)- allows for the restoration of confidence between the company and its crude oil suppliers. It also improves cash flow indicators as part of the external debt sustainability analysis and enhances Cameroon's credibility with international investors.
As a reminder, the government has previously signed restructuring deals for a debt of CFA261.4 billion claimed by nine local banks to Sonara. The move has removed the systemic risk that the volume of debt posed to the local banking sector. Indeed, the refinery found itself under such a large financial burden following the fire that occurred on May 31, 2019, in its units, causing a halt in activity. The incident has also limited the company’s ability to meet its financial commitments estimated at CFA1,000 billion as of December 31, 2019, including CFA374 billion in debt to suppliers of crude oil and finished petroleum products. This posed a risk to the country's supply of petroleum products, and a threat to the national banking system given the volume of commitments (CFA261.4 billion).
Brice R. Mbodiam