Piraeus becomes first bank in Greece to issue debt since 2009

A GREEK bank is returning to the debt markets for the first time since 2009, as Piraeus begins to take orders on a bond issue with the backing of several major international banks.

Piraeus has appointed HSBC, Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank as the lead managers of the issue, which is worth €500m (£419.44m).

The bonds will yield 5.125 per cent, and mature in 2017. There are added difficulties for the issue: none of Greece’s major banks currently have any short-term debt issued, since the institutions have been absent from the market for nearly five years.

The Greek central bank argued earlier this month that the country’s four largest banks, including Piraeus, had a €5.8bn capital shortfall collectively, with Piraeus accounting for €425m.

The total estimate is lower than previous forecasts have suggested.

The Greek government itself has still not sold any bonds in recent years. Finance minister Yannis Stournaras has previously said that both a budget surplus and economic debt remain pre-conditions for an issue.