Greece is preparing to sell a 20% stake in National Bank of Greece as part of its divestment plan for the country’s lenders.
(Bloomberg) — Greece is preparing to sell a 20% stake in National Bank of Greece as part of its divestment plan for the country’s lenders.
The move is expected to take place mid-November, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public yet. The aim is to attract as many long-term investors as possible.
The Hellenic Financial Stability Fund, a bank recapitalization tool established at the start of Greece’s bailout programs, holds about 40% of National Bank, whose market value was almost €5 billion ($5.3 billion) on Wednesday. But it has decided against divesting it all at once.
The plan is to sell 15% through a book-building process and offer the remaining 5% to retail investors, one of the people said. Representatives for National Bank and the fund declined to comment.
Read more: Greece Wants to Divest From Its Greek Bank Holdings by End-2025
The Greek government wants to move quickly with its divestment plan to signal that the nation’s banking sector is returning to normalcy. A debt crisis that started in 2010 lopped off the country’s gross domestic product by almost a quarter and saddled its banks with more than €100 billion in bad loans. Lenders have managed to reduce their non-performing loan ratio below 10% and the $219 billion economy is now growing faster than its European peers.
In early October, HFSF concluded its first divestment when Eurobank Ergasias Services and Holdings SA bought back all the shares that the fund was holding. HFSF also owns 27% stake of Piraeus Bank SA and 9% of Alpha Bank SA.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.