Greece set to unveil terms of crucial bond buy-back

Sun Dec 2, 2012 7:02pm EST
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By Lefteris Papadimas

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece will unveil details of a bond buy-back crucial to efforts by foreign lenders to trim the country's ballooning debt, hoping the terms will draw enough investors and unblock vital aid.

Since plans for the buy-back were announced on Tuesday, questions have swirled about whether it will tempt enough bondholders to cut Greek debt by a net 20 billion euros.

Under the plan, Greece aims to cut its overall indebtedness by spending 10 billion euros from its rescue package to buy back about 30 billion euros of bonds for less than it would have to pay if its creditors held them to maturity.

A senior government official said Athens would unveil the terms of the deal on Monday before a meeting of euro zone finance ministers, at which Greek minister Yannis Stournaras would brief his counterparts.

"There will be a debriefing by the Greek minister on the steps he will have taken by then," said a senior EU official. "On Monday you will see it all.

Euro zone officials said the bloc hoped Greece would be able to repurchase at least 40 billion euros of its own bonds.

The price that Athens will offer bondholders is likely to vary depending on the bond rather than be a uniform rate for all holders, a senior Greek finance official has told Reuters.

On the secondary market, Greek bonds eligible under the buy-back ranged from 25.15 to 34.41 cents in the euro at the close of trading on November 23, Reuters data showed.   Continued...