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During the first half of 2002, Agency France Tresor (AFT) will buy back about 6bn worth of French Treasuries as part of its active debt management programme.
Such buybacks will enable the Agency to ensure an adequate liquidity to the new benchmarks, i.e. the July 2007 BTAN, the April 2012 OAT and the July 2012 OATi, while keeping within the net 85bn issuance programme announced in December 2001.
The procedures of the current buyback programme are the same as those of the previous buyback campaigns of 2000 and 2001, i.e.:
1- In its buyback programme, AFT will target bonds in which market participants have expressed interest and which represent an opportunity as regards price. AFT nevertheless is careful not to impair the liquidity of any line.
2- AFT will use both over the counter trades and reverse auctions. The over the counter operations will take place for securities the maturity of which is lower than 18 months. The other securities will be traded through reverse auctions account taken of market conditions.
3-The planned buybacks could involve the bonds included on the following list:
The buybacks of securities maturing in 2008-2010 and 2019-2025 will contribute to the planned medium term reduction of the average maturity of the French debt.
4- AFT will hold all its reverse auctions before mid-July, following the same principle used for traditional auctions. The dates of the auctions will be announced one week beforehand.
5- Up to 4 bonds will be offered at each auction. The securities involved and the maximum buy-back amount will be specified five days prior to the auction date. Of course, AFT reserves the right not to carry out the buy-back of a bond if, in its opinion, the bids offered are not advantageous.
6- The first reverse auction will take place on Thursday, April 11.
As of March 31, 2002, AFT has already issued 35bn worth of OATs, of index-linked OATs and of BTANs since the beginning of the year, or 41.2% of the net financing programme.
Please do not forget that no auction of BTANs nor OATs will take place in April.