ECONOMY

Greek lenders said to discuss debt exchanges following Piraeus

greek-lenders-said-to-discuss-debt-exchanges-following-piraeus

Greek banks met with a group of bondholders on Monday and discussed the possibility of debt swaps to help repair their balance sheets, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Eurobank Ergasias SA and Alpha Bank AE are considering asking investors to swap notes for shares, said the people who asked not to be identified because the talks were private. National Bank of Greece SA, which also attended the meeting in Athens, may also consider a bond swap, depending on the price in its sale of Turkish unit, Finansbank AS, the people said.

The lenders would join Piraeus Bank SA, which on Thursday offered terms for an exchange to investors holding almost 600 million euros ($680 million) of bonds. As much as 25 billion euros from Greece’s latest bailout has been earmarked to backstop the recapitalization of banks, and euro-area finance ministers said in August that bondholders may have to take losses before public money is used.

Alpha Bank is considering targeting holders of more than 1 billion euros of notes, the people said. The lender and Eurobank have a combined 1.94 billion euros of outstanding senior and junior unsecured bonds.

Spokesmen for Eurobank and Alpha Bank declined to comment. National Bank of Greece spokesman Dimitris Spyropoulos said the lender has no immediate plans to pursue a bond exchange.

Greek banks’ senior unsecured notes rose as much as 16 percent on Thursday following the Piraeus Bank bond-swap offer.

Prices for Alpha Bank’s 400 million euros of notes due in June 2017 rose to 74 cents on the euro, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. National Bank’s 750 million euros of notes due in April 2019 rose to 69 cents. Both were at the highest since March.

[Bloomberg]