ECONOMY

5-year bond finds favor with foreign investors and is oversubscribed

LONDON (Reuters) – Greece sold a well-oversubscribed 5-billion-euro, five-year bond yesterday, priced at the mid-point of initial price guidance, the banks managing the sale said. The bond, maturing on April 20, 2009, carries a coupon of 3.5 percent. It was priced to give a spread of 13 basis points over the German OBL144 government bond. The initial price guidance was for 12-14 basis points. Credit Suisse First Boston, EFG Eurobank, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch and Piraeus Bank were lead managers for the deal. «We officially opened the books on Tuesday morning, and they developed at a very steady but fairly fast pace,» said Stuart McGregor, syndicate official at Merrill Lynch. The books were closed on Wednesday morning. «The five-year sector has led the rally we have seen in the market recently, but even so, people are still willing to put their money in,» McGregor said. He said the syndicates ended up with 168 orders in the lead books alone, and the lead managers booked orders totaling almost 7.7 billion euros. Greece is rated «A1» by Moody’s Investors Service and «A+» by Standard & Poor’s. An official at the country’s Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) said there would be no new issues until the end of March and the agency would issue a list of second-quarter new issues at the end of this month. Greece will hold a general election on March 7. Greece’s borrowing needs have increased due to the country hosting the Olympic Games this year.