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Greece Extends Deadline for Foreign-Law Bonds in Debt Swap

Greece extended the deadline for holders of foreign-law bonds to participate in a 206 billion-euro ($273 billion) debt swap.

The deadline for investors holding about 9 billion euros of untendered bonds governed by laws other than Greek was extended to April 4, according to a statement on the Greek Finance Ministry website

The government on March 9 used collective-action clauses on Greek-law bonds to bring the participation to 95.7 percent of all eligible securities. Investors holding the remaining bonds were given until 10 p.m. Athens time today to decide whether to participate.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos won parliamentary approval this week for a new 130 billion-euro bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund that will keep the country’s possible financial collapse at bay. The second financing package and debt swap were key elements in European leaders’ efforts to turn the tide against the crisis that emerged in Greece in late 2009, and then forced Ireland and Portugal to follow in requiring bailouts.

Spending Cuts

Papademos had to agree to deeper spending reductions to obtain the new funds, including cuts to pensions and wages that prompted riots in Athens when the measures were brought to parliament on Feb. 12. Papademos was appointed in November to shepherd the measures through parliament and secure the loan accord before standing aside for general elections.

Investors participating in the exchange will take a 53.5 percent reduction in the face value of their Greek debt securities. Evangelos Venizelos, who resigned as finance minister this week to lead the Pasok party in elections that may be held as soon as next month, said March 9 that after today’s deadline, sweeteners used to make the offer more attractive to investors will no longer be available. These include notes issued by the European Financial Stability Facility and securities linked to growth in the country’s gross domestic product.

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