* European regulators approve bond swap offer
* Swap set to launch in Italy on Monday, source says
* Green light from regulators was last hurdle to launch
ROME/BRUSSELS, April 27 (Reuters) - European financial regulators on Tuesday approved the outlines of an Argentine swap offer on up to $20 billion in defaulted bonds, putting the South American country a step closer to launching the exchange.
Argentina aims to return to international debt markets by striking a deal with “holdout” creditors who rejected a tough 2005 restructuring of nearly $100 billion in defaulted debt.
Officials unveiled the terms of the proposed swap on April 15. But they needed final regulatory approval before they can launch it simultaneously in Japan, Italy, Luxembourg and the United States. For details see [ID:nN15228018].
Luxembourg’s stock exchange said on Tuesday it had approved the operation, and a source in Rome said Italy’s Consob securities regulator had also given its approval and that the swap would launch there on Monday.
Creditors will have until June 7 to participate in the exchange, although the deadline could be extended, according to the prospectus published on the Luxembourg stock exchange’s website on Tuesday.
Argentina hopes to get at least 60 percent of creditors to tender their defaulted paper for new securities and, in the case of retail investors, a limited cash payout. (Reporting by Stefano Bernabei in Rome and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; Writing by Hilary Burke; Editing by Dan Grebler)