Chavez: PDVSA Bond Will Be for US$5bn

Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA will sell US$5bn in bonds with maturities ranging from 10-30 years and open book orders on March 26, President Hugo Chavez said on his radio show Alo Presidente.

The order book will close March 29.

"There are only four days for you to make your request. This bond is very solid because it banks on the support of what is no more and no less than one of the most solid companies in the world: PDVSA," Chavez said.

The bond issue is aimed at "small, mid-size and big national savers," he said, without specifying whether foreigners would be barred entirely from participating.

Although this is not the first time PDVSA has launched bonds on the Venezuelan fixed income market, the company traditionally prefers to contract loans directly with a bank or a syndicate of banks or rely on cash flow for new investments.

Finance minister Rodrigo Cabezas told reporters in Guatemala City earlier this month the bond would total US$4bn, up from previous reports of US$3.5bn.

In related news, energy and oil minister Rafael Ramirez said that the US$5bn in new debt would leave PDVSA with total debt of US$12bn, according to a radio report.

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