BRUSSELS, March 1 (Reuters) - Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Thursday he expected a high level of private bondholder participation in Greece’s bond exchange scheme.
“Everything depends on what happens next week. We have to have the highest participation rate, universal if possible, and I believe it will be high,” Venizelos told a briefing after a meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Brussels.
“The market can’t expect anything better than the current offer,” he said.
The bond exchange, in which private sector holders of Greek debt will swap more than 200 billion euros in bonds for new ones worth half that amount, must be completed before the euro zone can give its final approval to a 130 billion euro programme of assistance for Athens - a decision expected to be taken on March 9.
“No bondholder wants to rush to declare their participation. They’ll wait until the end of the procedure. Not even Greek institutional investors have done so yet,” he added. (Reporting by Harry Papachristou; writing by Rex Merrifield; editing by Sebastian Moffett)