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Thursday 13 December 2018
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Finance Perm Sec: Restructured Petrotrin will repay debt in three years

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Vishnu Dhanpaul.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Vishnu Dhanpaul.

THE PROJECTION for the restructured Petrotrin to repay its debts is within three years, says Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Vishnu Dhanpaul.

He was speaking yesterday during redirect examination by Petrotrin attorney Reginald Armour SC in the hearing of the industrial relations offence filed by the Oilfield Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) against the state-owned company and being heard before the Industrial Court, Port of Spain.

"Petrotrin is internationally famous for the sheer magnitude of its debt," Dhanpaul said.

He reported on October 24 he visited credit rating agency Moody's in New York and the agency expressed uncertainty and unease about Petrotrin's financials and liquidity. He also said Moody's was looking into what was happening at Petrotrin, its finanical exposure and the risk associated with TT's sovereign debt. He said crediting agencies, international banks and institutional investors were aware of Petrotrin's debt.

"Anything that impacts Petrotrin's ability to repay its debt would cause unease among rating agencies, investment banks and institutional investors."

Industrial Court President Deborah Thomas-Felix asked why rating agencies will experience unease. Dhanpaul responded this was because of the correlation with state debt and also due to reputational risk.

Thomas-Felix asked with the restructuring of Petrotrin what was Government's position regarding Petrotrin's loans (US$850 million and US$750 million due next August and in 2022). Dhanpaul said the plan was to refinance the loans.

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