Deal will mean 96% of creditors agree to sign up.
Athens Greece Thursday extended to April 20 the deadline for a last batch of private investors who own some ¤8 billion (Dh39.2 billion) worth of its bonds to voluntarily join a massive swap deal and accept a deep cut in the value of their holdings.
If exchanged, the swaps will complete the biggest debt writedown in history, forgiving crisis-hit Greece just over half its ¤205 billion debt held by banks, pension funds and other private investors.
The final collection of bonds is regulated under foreign law and their owners had either earlier rejected the deal or postponed a decision in the hope of a better deal.
Greece has warned that holdouts cannot expect better terms than other investors who have agreed to take part in the swap.
A Finance Ministry statement Thursday said that on April 11 Greece will complete the exchange for another ¤20.3 billion worth of foreign law bonds.
Last month, Athens swapped bonds worth ¤177 billion issued under Greek law for new ones, forcing investors to take a cut of about 75 per cent on the real value of their investment. Greece also enacted legislation forcing holdouts into the deal, after 83.5 per cent of private investors agreed to join up to the deal. The latest batch of investors agreeing to exchange their foreign law bonds will bring that level to 96 per cent.
The deal is intended to secure Greece's long-term debt sustainability, bringing the amount owed to its creditors to around 120 per cent of gross domestic product by 2020, from nearly 170 per cent now, or about ¤370 billion.
Greece has been kept afloat since May 2010 by international rescue loans, after its access to money markets was blocked by dizzily high interest rates demanded by investors. That followed the revelation that the country's budget deficits were much higher than originally reported, and a series of credit downgrades by ratings agencies.
The private debt write-down was essential for Greece to secure funds from a multibillion-euro second international bailout, and to prevent the country from a potentially catastrophic default that could have dragged down the euro.
About 150 Communist unionists protested outside the Bank of Greece headquarters in Athens yesterday against the inclusion of bonds held by Greek pension funds and hospitals in the writedown.
The interim governing coalition, formed late last year to resolve a severe political crisis, has pledged to call elections after it fin-alises the debt deal and pushes through legislation necessary to secure the second bailout.
Although the exact date will be announced next week, the polls are widely expected to be held on May 6.