Reuters: Greece Considers Bond Swap as Looks to Bailout Exit



Greece is considering swapping 20 small bond issues for four or five new ones, government sources said, as it prepares to exit its international bailout, and resume normal financing operations, Reuters reports.

The government is considering a swap that would consolidate the secondary market into a few benchmark issues, replacing 20 separate bonds with a face value of around 32 billion euros, said officials familiar with the proposal.

“We are planning to proceed with some debt management actions … to improve liquidity and tradeability,” one senior government official said to Reuters.

Officials said the move was still under discussion, and did not say when it might happen, adding that bondholders had yet to be sounded out.

The 20 bonds were issued in 2012 in a voluntary scheme, whereby private bondholders took a 53.5 percent haircut – or value reduction – on their investments.

It was the world’s biggest debt restructuring involving bonds, with a total face value of 206 billion euros. Major holders included banks and pensions funds in Greece and abroad.

Two years later in 2014, Greece made two forays as part of a plan to regain full bond market access.

This time the plan is more modest, but would represent a major step forward for bigger debt issues.

Greece issued a five-year bond in July, and investors that bought the new bond are already making a profit of about 1.5 percent since the beginning of the year, Reuters says.

Source: Reuters


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