Libya chases Zambia’s offshore assets to get due LAP GreenN payment

April 22, 2018

Libyan telecommunications company LAP GreenN is considering chasing after Zambia’s offshore assets after the southern African country defaulted four times on an order to pay $257 million in compensation for nationalizing a firm it invested in.

Zambia owes state-owned LAP GreenN more than $400 million including interest, and has defaulted on payments totaling about $220 million following a 2016 judgment in the nation’s high court, according to the Libyan Post, Telecommunication and IT Holding Co. which owns LAP GreenN. Yields on the nation’s dollar bonds climbed.

The company has “patiently” sought an amicable resolution, while Zambia has avoided and delayed paying, LPTIC Chairman Faisel Gergab said in an emailed statement. LAP GreenN “will pursue all avenues or recourse available to it should the defaults continue” and wants to recover the full amount due, he said. The country’s portfolio of international commercial assets is at risk of attachment, Gergab said.

Zambia’s Finance Ministry and presidency didn’t respond to requests for comment sent via email, phone and text message. Felix Mutati, who was replaced as finance minister in February, acknowledged the LAP GreenN debt to lawmakers in October, saying the government was “dealing with the matter of compensation.”

The compensation order dates back to LAP GreenN’s 2010 purchase of 75 percent of Zambia’s state-owned Zamtel Ltd., which the government seized 18 months later. The company’s plan comes after investors including Nomura International Plc and Bank of America Merrill Lynch expressed worries over Zambia’s dollar-debt levels, suggesting the totals may be higher than government’s estimates.