Greece on Friday launched a debt swap offer to private creditors holding nearly 206 billion euros of Greek debt, hoping to cut the total amount the country owes by about a third, a statement said.
"The bonds invited to participate in (the swap) have an aggregate outstanding value of approximately 206 billion euros ($271 billion)," the Greek finance ministry and the debt management agency said.
The swap is expected to cut 107 billion euros from Greece's total 350 billion euros debt mountain.
Athens said it was seeking participation from at least 75 percent of bonds selected to participate, or the transaction will be called off.
"If less than 75 percent of the aggregate face amount of the bonds selected to participate are validly tendered for exchange...the (Hellenic) Republic will not proceed with any of the transactions described above," it said.
It noted that under legislation approved on Thursday, the exchange becomes binding for bonds governed by Greek law "if at least two thirds by face amount of a quorum of these bonds...approve the proposed amendments."
Eligible bonds covered by the exchange include maturities ranging from March 20 to July 2057.
Holders of Greek debt will receive new bonds with a face value equal to 31.5 percent of the face amount of the debt exchanged, plus European Financial Stability Facility notes with a maturity date of two years or less from the debt swap settlement date on March 12.
The short-term notes from the EFSF, which are backed by the EU's strongest economies like Germany, are meant as a highly liquid sweetner to push creditors to accept the swap.
Holders will also receive growth-linked securities equal to the face amount of the new bonds, the offer said.
The interest rate offered on the new bonds is 2.0 percent to 2015, 3.0 percent to 2020, 3.65 percent to 2021 and 4.3 percent from 2022 and thereafter, until the latest maturity of 2042.
On March 20, Greece faces a repayment of 14.43 billion euros it cannot make if the debt write-down fails.
The swap, in effect a cancellation of nearly a third of the 350 billion euros in debt owed by Greece, is part of a rescue stitched together with the eurozone and International Monetary Fund to avert default.
This particular offer is not open to private sector holders in the United States, who will be invited to participate in a concurrent exchange offer with cash replacing the offer of EFSF notes.
Similarly, Swiss holders may not exchange their bonds but will be invited to consent to amendments.