KIEV Feb 7 Ukraine's central bank is ready to
meet bondholders of recently nationalised Privatbank, but it
will not change its position that a bail-in of their bonds was
justified and legal, a deputy head of the regulator said on
Ukraine took Privatbank, the country's largest lender, under
state control in December, but a group of the lender's creditors
has protested against a decision to convert $555 million worth
of Eurobonds into equity and threatened legal action.
"We are prepared to meet with representative of the
bondholders. We are prepared to lay out our position and believe
that our position is legal and reasonable from a banking
practice perspective," deputy central bank chief Kateryna
Rozhkova told journalists.
"Professional investors should evaluate these risks and
should be prepared to bear them if something happens with the
bank," she said, adding that she would meet the bondholders'
representatives later on Tuesday.
Privatbank was taken under state control with the backing of
the International Monetary Fund, with which Ukraine has agreed a
reform programme in exchange for loans worth $17.5 billion.
The nationalisation has so far cost taxpayers $4.3 billion
and an upcoming audit will reveal how much more might be added
to the bill.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Alessandra Prentice;
Editing by Andrew Heavens)