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Lebanon to invite 8 firms to bid to be financial adviser -source

epa04872892 Lebanese protesters hold a banner reading in Arabic 'Oh rulers of Lebanon, our debt is 70 billion and the county is drowning under piles of trash, injustice and darkness' during a protest against the Lebanese government and the trash crisis, in front of the government palace, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, 05 August 2015. Citizens gathered to protest against the government and its inability to find a solution for the rubbish crisis in Beirut and elsewhere in Lebanon. EPA/NABIL MOUNZER

BEIRUT, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Lebanon will invite eight firms to bid to be its financial adviser as it studies all options on its sovereign debt, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, as the heavily indebted state battles a financial crisis.

The invitation for bids does not mean the country has decided to restructure its debt “but it means Lebanon is studying all options and subsequent repercussions”.

The source identified the firms as Moelis & Company, Rothschild & Co, Guggenheim Partners, Citibank, Lazard, JP Morgan, PJT Partners and Houlihan Lokey.

The government is under growing pressure to decide on how to deal with fast-approaching debt payments, including a $1.2 billion Eurobond due on March 9.

A team of IMF experts will visit Lebanon from Feb. 20-23 to meet with authorities on economic challenges and provide broad technical advice “on policies to deal with the macroeconomic challenges facing the economy”, International Monetary Fund spokesman Gerry Rice said on Tuesday.

He said Lebanon had not requested financial assistance from the IMF. He gave no further details about the trip. (Reporting by Tom Perry; editing by John Stonestreet)

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