Greece’s public power marketing bonds in first sale since 2000

Public Power Corp SA, Greece’s largest electricity company, is returning to the bond market for the first time since 2000 as recovery takes hold in the nation that set off the euro region’s debt crisis.

PPC is raising 500 million euros ($690 million) from senior notes to refinance debt, a person familiar with the matter said. The Athens-based utility is the first non-financial Greek company to sell bonds in Europe this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Confidence is returning to Greece after the government ended a four-year exile from international markets on April 10, issuing 3 billion euros of bonds in a sale that saw demand exceed supply by almost seven times, according to Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. The country’s economy is set to grow 0.6 percent this year, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Wednesday, the first expansion in seven years.

“Greece was the poster child for the sovereign crisis and it’s back,” said Juan Esteban Valencia, a strategist at Societe Generale SA in Paris. “It’s a vote of confidence in the work that’s been done there, but mostly, it’s the fact that people are really desperate to look for yield.”

PPC is selling three-year bonds that may be priced to yield 4.75 percent to 5 percent, and five-year bonds to yield 5.5 percent to 5.75 percent, according to the person with knowledge of the deal. The securities may be rated B, or five levels below investment grade, by Standard & Poor’s.