Corporate bonds impacted by ongoing bailout review

The long-running negotiations for the first review of Greece’s third bailout package, a process now several months old, has not only negatively impacted the national economy but also bonds of major Greek corporate groups being traded on the London, Frankfurt and Luxembourg stock exchanges.

The high country risk factor is reflected in the yields offered, now at 8 percent and over, which are extraordinarily high compared to the levels offered by corporate bonds of companies based abroad.

Certain exceptions do exist, such as corporate bonds of globalized groups previously based in Greece, such as Coca Cola 3E and Titana, not being influenced by the uncertaintly surrounding the Greek bailout review negotiations.

For example, the 3E bond expiring on November 16, 2016, with an interest rate of 4.25 percent, has remained virtually unaffected by the ups and downs of Greece’s negotiation process with the country’s lenders. The company transferred in base to Switzerland four years ago.

The impact has also been minimal for two Titan Cement bonds. The first of these, expiring on January 19, 2017, at an interest rate of 8.75 percent, has shed just 1.20 percent since the beginning of the year, while the second, to expire on July 10, 2019, with an interest rate of 4.25 percent, is up 1.02 percent. Titan operates nine production facilities worldwide, with the majority of output generated in western Europe, the US, southeast Europe, and the eastern Mediterranean.

The picture is varied for Greek energy groups. The bonds of enterprises maintaining a greater level of activities abroad have suffered smaller losses, or even enjoyed gains. A Motor Oil bond totaling 350 million euros and set to expire in 2019 with an interest rate of 5.125 percent has gained 2.06 percent since the beginning of the year. Also, an ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) bond worth 500 million euros, expiring in 2017, issued with an interest rate of 8 percent, is up 2.99 percent. A second ELPE bond, worth 325 million euros, issued with an interest rate of 5.25 percent, is down just 0.57 percent.

The situation is not good for main power utility PPC. Its five-year bond expiring on May 1, 2019, shed 11.31 percent between the beginning of the year and April 18.

The main power utility’s unpaid receivables are five times greater than the corporation’s market value. PPC has just launched a softened payback program in an attempt to increase its collection of consumer arrears.

As part of Greece’s bailout program, PPC stands to lose its most profitable subsidiary firm, IPTO, the power grid operator, whose breakaway will cut 180 million euros from the corporation’s EBITDA. Last summer’s third bailout agreement also obligates PPC to cut its dominant electricity market share by 50 percent by 2020.

PPC also needs to refinance a bond loan worth 300 million euros this year, and a 600 million loan by 2017.