Greece Offers to Buy Back Bonds to Trim Its Debt

Posted December 3rd, 2012 at 10:30 am (UTC-5)
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Greece is offering to spend $13 billion to buy back bonds held by private creditors in hopes of trimming its crippling debt.

The Athens government said Monday it would try to repurchase $39 billion in debt, with investors selling their securities at slightly more than their current price on international financial markets but at substantially less than if they held the notes until they matured.

Greece gave the lenders until Friday to decide whether they want to make a deal. The debt-ridden country's bonds are currently selling at about a quarter to a third of their value. The investors could get up to 40 percent of their value if they accept Greece's offer.

Meanwhile, Greece said it hopes to cut $26 billion of its debt with the sale. The bond repurchase is part of the complex series of financial reforms Greece has undertaken to win the recent approval of more bailout cash from its European neighbors, its second rescue package in two years.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has led the European effort to force Greece to adopt a series of austerity measures to contain government spending and cut its debt, but on Sunday softened her stance. She said that Germany might forgive some of the debt Greece owes it, but only if Athens does not take on more loans, and not before sometime in 2014 or 2015.