Greece heralds bond issue as 'absolute success'

Greece announces new bond issue ending three-year market exile

Greece said it had mandated BNP Paribas, Citigroup Global Markets, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Merrill Lynch as joint lead managers for the benchmark-size offering.

The old issue remains - the big European Union countries want to end the bailouts but baulk at the kind of fundamental debt writeoffs or restructuring that would help this to happen.

Greece is selling a new five-year bond and conclude an offer to switch or tender old bonds maturing in 2019, aiming at around 4.875% on Tuesday, after a three-year break from the markets.

Moscovici told France Inter radio before a visit to Athens for talks with Alexis Tsipras on debt relief that "Greece was caught up in an incredible economic and financial storm".

Rating agency Standard & Poor's had raised the country's rating outlook to "positive" from "stable" on Friday, on the expectation that the government will receive debt relief from its creditors next year.

He said Tuesday that Greece is making a "spectacular recovery" that should allow it to "progressively return" to the debt markets, according to a statement released by the office of Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos after the two met.

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Greece looks set to return to the global bond markets following a three-year absence, according to a document released on Monday.

Eurozone ministers approved billions in funding for Athens just earlier this month.

The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) will also keep feeding the debt-ridden country with low interest rate loans (0.8 and 1.8 percent) until the end of the bailout programme in August 2018.

A Greek government official said more than 200 official offers worth 6.5 billion euros were made in the sale, saying that the majority of those were "real investors of worldwide caliber, not profiteering funds".

Debt relief has been the major bone of contention between the government of Tsipras and the eurozone, which had delayed the deal to disburse the latest bailout funds.

Greece was at the centre of the European sovereign debt crisis that erupted in 2010 and has had three bailouts from the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

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