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FinMin Announces US Bond Issue (adds)

Bled, 02 September (STA) - Finance Minister Janez Šušteršič announced that Slovenia would carry out a bond issue on the US market before the year was out as he met OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria on the margins of the Bled Strategic Forum on Sunday.

Facing unsustainable rates of financing at home, Šušteršič said that Slovenia would turn to the US market with dollar-denominated bonds. The issue would be worth USD 1.5bn, he said.

He said the issue would be carried out by the end of autumn while talks with potential partners would be launched in October.

The minister said he was confident the issue would succeed. "We will look for the best alternative in the event of complications. We will have a backup plan, but I'm convinced that we won't need to use it."

The topic was broached as Šušteršič presented to Gurria the short-term plans of the Slovenian government.

The minister stressed that Slovenia would also adopt legislation on a new sovereign holding to manage state assets and on the consolidation of the banking system as well as the two-year budget in September.

The pair also examined Slovenian plans for reform of the labour market and the pension system. Gurria assessed that these were reforms that Slovenia had to undertake in the current situation.

He also endorsed the government's efforts to enter the golden fiscal rule in the Constitution, saying this was absolutely in Slovenia's interest.

Šušteršič hailed the support from Gurria for the measures aimed at dealing with the crisis and reinvigorating Slovenia's economy by clearing bank balance sheets and alleviating the credit squeeze.

He stressed that the reforms are crucial if Slovenia wants to regain access to financial markets. "Everything that we will prepare in the government and send to parliament is very important."

In this respect he warned of the danger posed to reforms by potential referendum motions, expressing hope that parliamentary parties could reach agreement on changes to the Constitution limiting such initiatives.

"This would be a very strong signal that would enable a government, be it this one or the next, to adopt strong commitments," he said.

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