QUITO, Ecuador, July 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Ecuador wishes to address certain press reports regarding its invitation to holders of its eligible bonds to restructure its outstanding debt announced on July 20, 2020. Certain press reports appear to have been generated by leaks to the press of a letter addressed to the Republic’s lawyers from the lawyers of a “Steering Committee” (the “Minority Committee“) comprised of Amundi (UK) Limited, Contrarian Capital Management LLC, Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo & Co., and T Rowe Price Associates, Inc., advised by BroadSpan Capital and UBS, along with certain holders of the Republic’s 2024 bond. Instead of participating in the widely supported restructuring, these reports mischaracterized the invitation in an apparent attempt to destabilize the consent process and create uncertainty in the market.
The Republic’s focus is on achieving the best outcome for the people of Ecuador, while at the same time seeking a fair outcome for the bondholders through a process that is open to all bondholders and which fundamentally applies principles of inter-creditor equity. The Republic is committed to a fair and transparent process and is disappointed that a minority of bondholders seeking to obtain an unfair advantage for their holdings, including of Notes due 2024s. The terms of the Minority Committee’s own proposal, as explained in detail in the Republic’s July 21, 2020 press release, did not conform to basic principles of inter-creditor equity and were untenable for the Ecuadorian people. The adoption of that proposal would not only hurt the most vulnerable in Ecuador, but also diminish the quality of the outstanding bonds and create a lose-lose situation for all our stakeholders, particularly bondholders.
Moreover, the Minority Committee’s claims are not supported by the terms of indentures under which the outstanding bonds were issued. In fact, these assertions are a blatant and transparent attempt to set aside the collective action clauses that were expressly agreed and documented in the indentures. The collective action provisions included in the indentures were meant to be used precisely as part of a process such as the one we are undertaking and allow the Republic to restructure its debt with the consent of a substantial percentage of the holders.
The Minority Committee asserted that the Republic negotiated with them in bad faith and characterized consent process as “coercive”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Republic has been proactively engaged in this process with holders since at least April, eager to find common ground when it became clear that, due to events outside of its control, the Republic would be unable to honor its debt service obligations and that a consensual restructuring, rather than outright default, was in the best interests of all our stakeholders, including bondholders.
As announced on April 17, 2020, the Republic successfully completed a first consent solicitation to amend the eligible bonds and the respective indentures, which provided short-term relief for the Republic and averted a legal default under the terms of said indentures. In April, more than 91% of holders of Aggregate Eligible Bonds and more than 82% of holders of 2024 Bonds consented to the Republic’s proposal. During the month of June, the Republic formally approached the Minority Committee and attempted to engage in confidential negotiations, but the advisors to the Minority Committee spent two weeks negotiating the wording of Non-Disclosure Agreements, delaying our ability to hold discussions within the available time constraints and pursuant to the timetable agreed with bondholders in the April consent solicitation.
On July 6, 2020, the Heads of Terms of the proposed restructuring were publicly announced, well before the formal launch of the current invitation, providing transparency and ample time for bondholders to consider them. On July 6, an Ad Hoc Group of holders of over 45% of the aggregate outstanding principal of Ecuador’s Eurobonds (the “Ad Hoc Group“) agreed to the commercial terms of its proposed restructuring. The Ad Hoc Group has now grown to represent holders of over 53% of the aggregate outstanding principal amount of Ecuador’s bonds. Notably, if the contemplated restructuring is supported by the requisite majorities of bondholders, a comprehensive restructuring can be achieved within the window of time available before any legal defaults would occur. The use of the collective action clauses set forth in the indentures to restructure the terms of Ecuador’s bonds and avoid a default is vastly superior to any alternative scenario and would be beneficial to bondholders and the Republic alike. Our fair, “market-friendly” restructuring proposal, explicitly supported by holders of a majority of the Eligible Bonds, is in stark contrast to the unilateral and coercive offers, hostile defaults and years of time consuming, costly and contentious litigation that other sovereign debt restructurings have witnessed.
The Minority Committee’s assertion that the Republic is seeking to “compel” the consent of investors is inaccurate. The payment of a consent fee in the form of the PDI 2030 Bonds provides a financial incentive for holders to provide their consent to the amendments and accept the terms of the restructuring. There is nothing improper or unusual in the payment of a consent fee. Further, the transaction will proceed only if the Minimum Participation Condition is met, therefore ensuring that the transaction moves forward only if we successfully restructure the vast majority of the eligible securities. Ecuador is acting within the four corners of our indentures, including the modification provisions available upon obtaining the requisite consent from bondholders. The Minority Committee’s investors have the same opportunity as any other investor to participate in the consent process and have no basis to argue that they are being treated in an unequal manner.
The Republic started this process with the goal of avoiding a potentially ruinous default through a fair, orderly process within the framework of the existing indentures and the Republic’s severely constrained financial position, and remains committed to that goal. The Republic is willing to receive feedback from investors and answer inquiries about the invitation, but in all events it will seek to consummate the restructuring with the consent of the vast majority of its bondholders.
SOURCE The Republic of Ecuador
NASA astronauts face final leg of SpaceX test flight: Coming home with a rare splashdown
A pair of NASA astronauts face the final and most important part of their SpaceX test flight: returning to Earth with a rare splashdown. Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken took part in a farewell ceremony Saturday at the International Space Station, several hours ahead of their planned departure on a SpaceX Dragon capsule.
Despite approaching Hurricane Isaias, NASA said the weather looks favourable for a Sunday afternoon splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico near Panama City, Florida. It will be the first splashdown for astronauts in 45 years. The last time was following the joint US-Soviet mission in 1975 known as Apollo-Soyuz.
The astronauts’ homecoming will cap a two-month mission that ended a prolonged launch drought in the US, which has relied on Russian rockets to ferry astronauts to the space station since the end of the shuttle era.
In launching Hurley and Behnken from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on May 30, SpaceX became the first private company to send people into orbit. Now SpaceX is on the verge of becoming the first company to bring people back from orbit. The hardest part was getting us launched, but the most important is bringing us home, Behnken said.
A successful splashdown, Behnken said, will bring US-crew launching capability ‘full circle’.
Space station commander Chris Cassidy, who will remain on board with two Russians until October, presented Hurley with the small US flag left behind by the previous astronauts to launch to the space station from US soil, in July 2011. Hurley was the pilot of that final shuttle mission.
The flag which also flew on the first shuttle flight in 1981 became a prize for the company that launched astronauts first. Elon Musk’s SpaceX easily beat Boeing, which isn’t expected to launch its first crew until next year and will land in the US Southwest. The flag has one more flight after this one: to the moon on NASA’s Artemis program in the next few years.
“We’re a little sad to see them go,” Cassidy said, but very excited for what it means to our international space program to add this capability of commercial crew capsules. The next SpaceX crew flight is targeted for the end of September. Hurley and Behnken also are bringing back a sparkly blue and purple dinosaur named Tremor. Their young sons chose the toy to accompany their fathers on the historic mission.
ICEA says mobile firms commit Rs 11,000 cr investment under PLI scheme, to surpass manufacturing estimates by 2 to 2.5 times
Industry body ICEA, which represents top mobile phone makers like Apple, Foxconn, Wistron, Lava, etc, on Saturday said companies have committed investments worth Rs 11,000 crore under the PLI scheme and they will surpass manufacturing estimates by 2 to 2.5 times.
Major global players Samsung Wistron, Pegatron, Foxconn and Hon Hai and Indian companies such as Lava, Dixon, Micromax, Padget Electronics, Sojo, UTL and Optiemus have applied for benefits under the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme.
According to the estimates of India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), mobile phone companies will increase devices production in the country to around Rs 27.5 lakh crore on higher side under the PLI compared to government’s announcement of Rs 11 lakh crore.
Union telecom and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has announced that as many as 22 domestic and international firms have lined up with proposals for mobile phones production worth Rs 11 lakh crore, which have potential to create direct and indirect jobs for around 12 lakh people over the next five years.
“Applications received under the PLI scheme with cumulative investment commitments worth Rs 11,000 crore, total production of mobile phones at Rs 11.50 lakh crore with 60 per cent production reserved for exports, generation of 3 lakh direct jobs…considered to be an extraordinary feat for the government’s commitments towards Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat objectives,” ICEA Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo said in a statement.
He said that enhancing domestic value addition in the production locally to grow to 35-40 per cent from the current 15-20 per cent is also a major move towards creating self-reliant India. “These were conservative numbers and the industry will surpass these by 2-2.5 times,” Mohindroo said. At present mobile phone production in the country is estimated to be over Rs 2 lakh crore per annum, employing around 5-6 lakh people.
Prasad said that a total application under the PLI scheme has come from various countries including Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, Austria, etc. “The benchmark for international companies was that they make mobile phones priced at or above Rs 15,000. International companies that have applied are Samsung, Foxconn Hon Hai, Rising Star, Wistron and Pegatron,” Prasad said.
Foxconn Hon Hai, Wistron and Pegatron are contract manufacturers for Apple iPhones.
In terms of revenue, Apple accounts for 37 per cent and Samsung 22 per cent for global sales of mobile phones and the PLI scheme is expected to increase their manufacturing base manifold in the country, an official statement issued by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) said.
The minister further said these companies will make thousands of crores investments based on the approval of their proposal. The companies that have applied for components production of around Rs 45,000 crore include AT&S, Ascent Circuits, Visicon, Walsin, Sahasra, Vitesco and Neolync.
The government notified production-linked incentive scheme for large scale electronics manufacturing, the scheme for promotion of manufacturing of electronic components and semiconductors, and the modified electronics manufacturing clusters (EMC 2.0) scheme.
The government expects to attract Rs 1 lakh crore investment in the sector and sees a target manufacturing revenue potential of Rs 10 lakh crore by 2025. The fresh proposals have exceeded the government’s manufacturing revenue target but the final outcome will depend on the decision of the screening committee that will select projects eligible for incentives.
Weather Alert: IMD issues yellow alert for 10 districts in Kerala
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued yellow alert for ten districts in Kerala for next four days indicating heavy rains in the region. The weatherman has predicted rains ranging from 6 cm to 20 cm at various districts till August 5.
The districts of Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod districts have been issued yellow alert.
The IMD website also indicates the formation of a low pressure area over north Bay of Bengal towards the later part of the first week of August and says its likely to intensify over northwest bay of Bengal off Odisha coast at the end of the first week.
Earlier, on July 29, a red alert was sounded in the high range Idukki district by the IMD with widespread extremely heavy rains predicted as parts of the state received heavy showers inundating low lying areas and partially
disrupting rail traffic.
Kerala had been devastated by the worst floods in the last 100 years during August 2018 that claimed over 400
lives and razed several houses. Last year, the state’s northern parts were flooded again in August as heavy rains and widespread landslides wreaked havoc, claiming over 120 lives.
A large number of people including women and children had lost their lives at Kavalapara in Malappuram and
Puthumala in Wayanad alone when landslides rocked the places.
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