Greece extends buyback offer to meet debt target

Greece extended until midday today its offer to buy back debt, seeking more bids from bondholders after falling just short of a target to retire bonds worth €30bn at a cost of just €10bn.

The buyback is designed to provide for about half of a €40bn debt relief package for Athens agreed last month by the EU and IMF.

Its success is crucial to ensuring Greece’s debt is put back on sustainable footing and — more immediately — to unlocking badly needed aid for the country.

The offer had been due to end last Friday. The debt agency extended the offer to midday today.

“The aim is to reach the €30bn target on the face value of debt to be bought back,” said a government official, who declined to be named.

Greece was given €10bn to conduct the buyback. A senior Greek banker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Athens aimed to use the delay to get up to another €4bn worth of bonds offered for exchange.

Athens badly needs the aid to revive its ailing economy, which is on track for a sixth year of recession due to austerity measures including spending cuts and tax hikes.

The EU and the IMF have been withholding rescue payments to Greece for six months because it had failed on pledges to shore up its finances, privatise and make its economy more competitive.


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