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Greece's Piraeus Bank to tap debt market after 5-yr drought
March 6, 2014 / 5:12 PM / 4 years ago

Greece's Piraeus Bank to tap debt market after 5-yr drought

ATHENS, March 6 (Reuters) - Greece’s second-largest lender Piraeus Bank is planning the first foray in five years by a major Greek lender into debt markets via a bond issue, it said on Thursday.

Greek banks were shut out of capital markets after the debt crisis in late 2009. They were then hit by big losses from a sovereign debt writedown that led to their recapitalisation last summer.

A banking source close to the deal said Piraeus plans a benchmark-size bond issue of 500 million euros ($686.97 million).

“We feel very comfortable in our position both from a competitive and capital adequacy standpoint,” the bank’s deputy CEO Anthimos Thomopoulos told Reuters.

“The market has demonstrated significant appetite for a wide range of credit assets in recent weeks and so we see this as good timing to reintroduce the Piraeus name to the debt investor base,” he added.

Piraeus said it mandated BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and HSBC on the planned bond issue and will hold a roadshow in European capitals to determine interest from fixed income investors.

It said the country’s improving economic environment is opening the way for a return to debt markets.

Greece’s economy remains battered and analysts say its woes are far from over but the country and its international lenders funding its bailout expect the economy to pull out of a six-year recession this year and grow by 0.6 percent.

An improved outlook on the economy and an easing euro zone debt crisis has driven Greek bond yields to their lowest since the country’s debt was restructured in March 2012.

Greek 10-year yields slid 20 basis points to 6.66 percent on Thursday while 30-year yields were 13 bps down at 6.68 percent, moving the curve back to a more normal upward slope. ($1 = 0.7278 euros) (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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