Hopes of binding bids for TT fade ahead of deadline

By Yiannis Papadoyiannis

Hellenic Postbank (TT) suitors have until 9 a.m. on Friday to submit binding bids for the healthy part of the state-owned lender. Up until late on Thursday, none had been sent to the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF).

The boards of two of the four banks that had expressed an interest last week, National and Eurobank, held meetings on Thursday and have reportedly decided against bidding for TT on Friday as that would upset the timetable of their merger.

Alpha Bank, a third suitor that the market sees as one of the favorites, has expressed serious concerns about the state of Hellenic Postbank and appears to have made the further capital strengthening of TT a prerequisite for its acquisition, a demand that has not been accepted. Finally, the bid by Attica Bank has reportedly not been accepted due to its considerably inferior size to TT.

If no bids are submitted on Friday, the healthy part of TT will be passed on to the HFSF and the bad loans portfolio will be liquidated.

The fund’s control of Hellenic Postbank will be temporary, though, as a new tender will follow soon, since the government has no intention of allowing a case of failure to cast a shadow over its privatizations program.