ECONOMY

Greece’s 5-bln bond a success

LONDON/ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece will sell 5 billion euros of its new 10-year syndicated government bond after the offer met with strong demand, the head of the country’s public debt management agency (PDMA) said yesterday. «We are opening the new year with a very successful issue,» Christopher Sardelis told Reuters. He said the offering attracted 8.5 billion euros in bids, allowing the issue to be priced at a 20-21 basis point (0.20-0.21 percent) spread over 10-year German Bunds, slightly tighter than the expected range. A banking source said earlier yesterday the spread was seen at 20-22 basis points over the January 2014 German Bund. Sardelis said strong interest meant the books were likely to be closed already by last night, rather than today as originally planned. (According to other banking sources, the issue had a good geographical spread, as US and Asian investors, and not only European ones, showed interest.) In contrast, a German auction of more than 7 billion euros of Bunds met with the lowest demand for such bonds for at least a year. The size of Greece’s offering met market expectations while its pricing was considered relatively tight. Marc Ostwald, bond broker at Monument Securities in London said the spread was «…not all that generous. It is where the current Greek 10-year bond is trading anyway.» Greece’s 4.60 percent bond due May 2013 was yielding 4.426 percent yesterday, up 5.5 basis points on the day. In December, PDMA hired Alpha Bank, Citigroup, HSBC, Lehman Brothers and the National Bank of Greece to manage the bond. Greece is rated «A1» by Moody’s Investors Service, «A+» by Standard & Poor’s and «A+» by Fitch Ratings.