greece downgraded to ‘SD’

S&P: Greece Ratings Lowered To ‘SD’ (Selective Default)

  • We are lowering our sovereign credit ratings on Greece to ‘SD’.
  • This follows the Greek government’s Dec. 3, 2012, invitation to private sector bondholders to participate in a series of debt buyback auctions, which under our criteria we view as a selective default.
  • When the buyback is consummated (which we understand is scheduled to occur on or about Dec. 17, 2012), we will likely consider the selective default to be cured and raise the sovereign credit rating on Greece to the ‘CCC’ category.


NEW YORK Dec. 5, 2012

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered its ‘CCC’ long-term and ‘C’ short-term sovereign credit ratings on the Hellenic Republic (Greece) to ‘SD’ (selective default).

We lowered our sovereign credit ratings on Greece to ‘SD’ following the Greek government’s Dec. 3, 2012, invitation to private sector bondholders to participate in a series of debt buyback auctions. In our opinion, Greece’s invitation constitutes the launch of what we consider to be a distressed debt restructuring. Under our criteria (see “Rating Implications Of Exchange Offers And Similar Restructurings, Update,” May 12, 2009), we consider an exchange offer as tantamount to default under the following two conditions:

  • The offer, in our view, implies the investor will receive less value than the promise of the original securities; and
  • We believe the offer is distressed, rather than purely opportunistic.

We consider that Greece’s invitation satisfies these conditions, notwithstanding that investors may technically accept the offer voluntarily, and irrespective of whether an event of default as defined by the bond documentation occurs. In accordance with our criteria, we have therefore lowered our sovereign credit rating on Greece to ‘SD’ and our ratings on the affected debt issues to ‘D’.

Under our criteria, we define a restructuring to include buybacks as an alternative to a potential conventional default, in which the investor or counterparty stands to fare even worse, and which motivates (at least partially) the investor’s acceptance of such an offer. Standard & Poor’s treats such offers and buybacks analytically as de facto restructuring and, accordingly, as equivalent to a default on the part of the issuer.

When Greece’s buyback is consummated (which we understand is scheduled to occur on or about Dec. 17, 2012), we will likely consider the selective default to be cured and raise the sovereign credit rating on Greece to the ‘CCC’ category, reflecting our forward-looking assessment of Greece’s creditworthiness. In this context, any potential upgrade to the ‘CCC’ category rating would reflect, among other factors, our view of the debt relief that is being delivered through the buy back and its contribution to putting the sovereign’s public finances on a sustainable footing.

source: standard and poors

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