BUSINESS

Emporiki race enters last stretch

Besides National Bank, the two other suitors for Emporiki Bank -- Alpha and Eurobank -- also tabled revised offers on Friday and are eagerly anticipating news from French parent company Credit Agricole in the new week.

On Friday, all three Greek lenders announced that, in response to a demand by the French group, they had submitted revised binding offers to acquire 100 percent of Emporiki.

It appears that Credit Agricole will decide which bid it will choose based on the guarantees they intend to supply to the French bank for the maintenance of its open line of liquidity, amounting to some 1.9 to 2 billion euros, according to sources from the group. ?The quality of guarantees will be the decisive element for the board?s verdict,? a Credit Agricole source has said.

The French appear willing to accept assets as guarantees, including loans to domestic and mainly foreign companies with a high credit rating, so that it will not have to burden its own financial figures with the credit line it plans to keep open in Greece.

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