BUSINESS

National Bank plans to sell minority stake in Finansbank

By Yiannis Papadoyiannis

National Bank of Greece is adopting a new strategy for its group in Greece and abroad, including the gradual sale of a minority stake in Turkish subsidiary Finansbank, aimed at strengthening the lender in light of new economic and banking conditions.

The management of the group intends to sell a stake in Finansbank that will not exceed 40 percent. This would allow National to bolster its capital base while retaining a strong presence in the populous and dynamic Turkish market. The National group does not wish to sell all of its holding in Finansbank given that it constitutes its greatest source of profits.

Regarding the rest of Southeastern Europe, where National also has a strong presence, the group will try to further strengthen its position in the context of the general restructuring of Greek banks’ subsidiaries in the broader region.

In the domestic market National will proceed with the active utilization of its assets, again to boost its capital base. Recent moves have taken its equity index to 9.6 percent, but the aim of management is to raise it to 10 percent. This will be achieved through the sale of non-banking activities such as the Astir Palace hotel in southern Attica, and the utilization of the group’s sizeable real estate portfolio.

National officials have expressed their satisfaction with the lender’s recapitalization, which they have termed as being “historic.” They note that maintaining the bank’s independence and private character has multiple positive consequences not only for the credit system and for enterprises, but also for the domestic economy overall.

After the success of the share capital increase National has decisively enlarged its shareholder base with the participation of strong investors, thereby drastically reducing the participation of the broader public sector. Senior officials at the bank estimate that the stabilization of the economy and the gradual restart of activity combined with the initiatives of the management for the restructuring of the group will put it back on an upward course, generating gains for the shareholders who took part in the bank’s recapitalization.

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