Picture: To Vima
Greece's Alpha Bank has sent a formal letter to the Athens Stock Exchange, informing that it has made an offer to French Credit Agricole to buy all shares of Emporiki Bank. "We believe that our proposal will limit the use of state funds for accomplishing the deal, it is compliant with the law and will contribute to the improvement of the Greek banking system", says the bank's official release.
This is the third piece of big banking news for Greece in just one week, after Eurobank split up with Spiros Latsis's financial colossus EFG, and Piraeus Bank took over the healthy part of the the Agricultural Bank ATE. However, Alpha Bank specifies that it is only a proposal and has not agreed with Credit Agricole yet. In the banking sphere it is considered that very soon such a proposal will also be made by the National Bank of Greece, as well as by Eurobank, with which the French financial group is also in negotiations.
Credit Agricole is categorical that the company will choose the proposal which will enhance the role of Emporiki Bank on the Greek market and the deal will have to be in the form of a merger. The French group will have a significant share in the new structure and will participate in the increase of Alpha's share capital. Qatar Paramount Fund, which holds 4.7 per cent of Alpha's shares, will also take part in the merged institution.
In this way, the financial institution managed by Yiannis Kostopoulos, will be able to recapitalize by limiting to a minimum the money it will take from the Greek Fund for financial stability. The necessary condition in order for the Fund to take part in the recapitalization, is for the bank to have secured at least 10% of private capital.
There are several possible reasons for the French to prefer Alpha Bank. One of them undoubtedly is the relatively lesser damage from PSI and the comparatively good results, which it showed during Black Rock's assessment. In the recent recapitalization, the same bank received only 1.9 billion euro from a total of 18 billion which has been allocated for this purpose. The second reason is the good network of branches it has in countries such as Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Cyprus and the Ukraine.
Expect further details.