TOR Turns Bank Debts Into Bonds

Kwame Awuah Darko, CEO of TOR

Tema Oil Refinery Limited (TOR), Ghana’s only processor of crude into fuels, is seeking to convert bank loans it had contracted from banks into a 10-year bond for its lenders in order to reorganize its debt and streamline repayment.

Even though details of how the bond would be converted into bonds is expected to be completed in a couple of weeks, the state-owned company owes banks as much as GHȻ950 million ($240 million), Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kingsley Awuah-Darko told Bloomberg by phone on Friday.

Non-performing loans at Ghana’s banks increased to 19.3 percent in May from 14.7 percent at the end of December, as lenders started to classify some debt owed by state-owned companies as bad loans, according to the central bank.

Tema plans to use funds from a levy collected by the state since 2003 on fuel sales for bond coupon payments, Awuah-Darko said.

“We will use proceeds of the Tema Oil Refinery debt-recovery levy which is accruing in an account to service the bond quarterly or semi-annually,” he said.

The company is working on a second bond to convert debt owed to creditors, Awuah-Darko said, declining to give details.

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