Argentina's biggest province extends $7 bln debt deadline again amid creditor tensions

Credit: REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

Adds comments from provincial government, context

BUENOS AIRES, March 29 (Reuters) - Argentina's Buenos Aires province said on Monday it would extend the deadline for its $7 billion foreign debt restructuring until April 23, amid rising tensions with creditors after a year of negotiations that have failed to reach an agreement.

The province, led by hard-line governor Axel Kicillof who clashed before with creditors when he was Argentina's Economy Minister from 2013 to 2015, has repeatedly pushed the deadline for the debt revamp, stoking frustrations among bondholders.

A major group of the province's creditors filed a lawsuit last week over missed principal and interest payments and slammed the local government for taking a course of "confrontation and default with its international bondholders".

Buenos Aires province had indicated some flexibility over its initial offer made around a year ago with an amended proposal revealed on March 21, which it said key creditor GoldenTree Asset Management had also rejected.

The provincial finance ministry said on Monday that it was convinced that litigation was not the solution to the standoff and it remained "committed to a good faith negotiation to restate the terms and conditions of the eligible bonds."

"The province remains open to dialogue with its bondholders on possible amendments to the terms of the proposal established in the invitation to the debt swap, including those reported in the statement issued on March 21," it added.

The national government and a handful of other provincial administrations have completed major debt restructurings over the past year, when the grains producing country has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Argentina is also in talks with the International Monetary Fund over a new deal to help roll over payments of around $45 billion it owes to the Fund and cannot currently pay back.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan)

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