Jamaica Gleaner Online TODAY'S ISSUE
March 17, 2000

Sweeter deal for sugar


LEADING commodity magazine Trade Finance has listed the Agricultural Credit Bank(ACB) Euro $65 million sugar deal as among the top transactions of 1999.

Trade Finance's February 2000 edition lauds the transaction as one of the best of the year and said that as well as being one of the first deals in the new Euro currency it was "very rare" because it was for a soft commodity, with a five year tenor.

The loan facility, arranged by lead bank KBC Global Trade Finance Group in the early part of 1999, was recently extended.

The consortium of four European banks extended the facility at the request of ACB/NDB head Kingsley Thomas, who brokered the initial deal.

Mr. Thomas returned to the syndicate of European banks as a result of representations by sugar farmers for a longer repayment period for their replanting loans and to fund the revitalisation and rehabilitation of the Jamaican sugar industry over the long term.

The new improved loan deal consists of four components including 50 million Euros granted over a five year term facility to replace the balance outstanding on the original 65 million Euro loan granted last year at an interest rate of 2.75 per cent per annum over fixed rate EURIBOR (currently at approximately 3.9 per cent per annum).

A 0.10 per cent agency fee will be paid annually in advance to the facility agent, KBC Bank N.V. London.

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