Fitch to rate LCC creditworthiness

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Banner 3” class=”f”>Zambia Daily Mail by Online Editor on 6/16/13

A TEAM from the global rating agency Fitch is expected in the country this month to assess the creditworthiness of Lusaka City Council (LCC) as it plans to issue a US$500 million municipal bond, Lusaka town clerk Moses Mwelwa has said.
The Fitch officials are scheduled to arrive in Lusaka on June 24, 2013 and will have various meetings with the council authority.
Mr Mwelwa, who was speaking in an interview in Lusaka on Thursday, said the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE) is also engaged in talks with the municipality on the bond requirements.
He, however, said the council has not yet started the evaluation process of the 15 institutions that expressed interest to become book runners and legal advisers.
Mr Mwelwa said the evaluation will only be done after logistics have been put in place.
“We need to do a lot of preparatory work before we embark on the evaluations, but after this month, probably in July, we will be able to conduct the assessments and select the preferred firm,” he said.
Mr Mwelwa, who could not disclose the names of the firms that have expressed interest to become book runners and legal advisers, said the tender process is confidential and disclosure may jeopardise the selection process.
Recently, 15 local and international institutions expressed interest to become book runners and legal advisers for the planned US$500 million municipal bond to construct 3,500 high-rise units in Lusaka.
This followed the tender which closed and opened on February 7, 2013.
The council is looking for one viable book runner and one financial legal adviser.
Once that is done, the council plans to construct 500 basic flats in each of the seven constituencies of Lusaka.
The development is aimed at addressing the housing shortage affecting the capital city.
The housing project targets the low, medium and high income groups in all urban constituencies of Lusaka.
Fitch is dual-headquartered in New York, United States of America and London, United Kingdom.
Together with Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, the three, which are commonly known as the “Big Three” credit rating firms, were designated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission in 1975.
Fitch Ratings’ long-term credit ratings are assigned on an alphabetic scale from ‘AAA’ to ‘D’.