Greek bond swap offer "going well": government official

ATHENS Thu Mar 8, 2012 3:05am EST

Police officers shout slogans as they protest against their pension fund's participation in the Greek bond swap in Athens March 7, 2012. Greece faces a Thursday deadline for a debt restructuring deal with private investors that is crucial to its new 130 billion euro ($172 billion) bailout package needed to avoid a chaotic default. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

Police officers shout slogans as they protest against their pension fund's participation in the Greek bond swap in Athens March 7, 2012. Greece faces a Thursday deadline for a debt restructuring deal with private investors that is crucial to its new 130 billion euro ($172 billion) bailout package needed to avoid a chaotic default.

Credit: Reuters/John Kolesidis

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece has seen a strong take-up of its bond swap offer to private investors, a government official said on Thursday ahead of a 2000 GMT deadline for accepting the deal, a key element in an 130 billion euro international rescue package.

"The pace of responses to the bond offer is good, the percentage of bondholders tendering voluntarily is very high," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

"It is going well, we are optimistic," he said but declined to say what percentage of the 206 billion euros in outstanding government bonds had been tendered in the offer so far.

(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos)