February 5, 2018 / 2:14 PM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Greece to launch 7-year bond "in the near future" - bourse filing

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ATHENS, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Greece is planning the sale of a seven-year bond “in the near future”, authorities said in a regulatory filing to the country’s stock exchange on Monday.

The announcement did not specify the amount sought, nor the timing of the issue. The issue is expected in a matter of days.

The sovereign has mandated Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, JP Morgan and Nomura for the transaction.

The move is a step towards the country building a cash buffer of up to 19 billion euros to cover debt repayments after it exits its current international bailout which ends in August.

The debt-laden nation, which has relied on rescue loans since 2010, seeks to return to normal market financing after the end of its bailout.

Greece is rated Caa2 by Moody’s, B by Standard & Poor’s and B- by Fitch.

The buffer will help to assure markets that Athens will be able to cover its debt maturities after the present bailout expires without external help.

In an interview with Reuters on Jan. 31, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said the amount amassed in the cash cushion would cover Greek needs “for well over a year” if required. [ID: nL8N1PQ31A]

Greece faces about 28 billion euros of maturing debt up to the end of 2019 and can cover one third of that amount with the last two loan installments from its third bailout.

It expects to get about 9 billion euros more from official lenders in the coming months to build up the buffer and plans to raise, this year, about another 9 billion euros from markets by issuing three new government bonds. (Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas, editing by Ed Osmond)

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