BUSINESS

Eurobank proves a prized asset

Investors are flocking to participate in the lender’s share capital increase, pledging more funds than needed By Yiannis Papadoyiannis

Eurobank has secured the pledge of three consortiums as long-term investors for funds adding up to 4 billion euros to be invested in the Greek lender’s upcoming share capital increase, exceeding the required amount of 3 billion euros. Strong interest in the increase has also come from major investment funds, private investors as well as state funds from the Persian Gulf countries and Norway.

Judging by this major interest it appears that Eurobank’s increase could be covered entirely by private investors. However, in order to safeguard the interests of its main shareholder, the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), a significant part of the increase will be covered by the bank bailout fund, which would rule out the devaluation of its holding.

Kathimerini has learned that the three consortiums have committed to the investment of amounts ranging between 1 and 1.5 billion euros each. The three strategic funds comprise:

* Fairfax, Wilbur Ross, Fidelity and Capital Research: This is the same group of companies that has successfully invested in the recapitalization of the Bank of Ireland and wishes to repeat that achievement in Greece through Eurobank.

* York Capital, Anchorage, Marathon, Perry Capital and Monarch: They are some of the biggest private equities in the US, who also have close relations with the local shipping industry and have had several meetings with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the HFSF.

* Apollo Asset Management: The company administers funds of over $160 billion and specializes in banks and insurance companies.

More interest has been expressed by other major investment companies such as BlackRock, Third Point and Wellington, among others, as well as from individual investors such as George Soros and John Paulson.

However the interest shown by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Qatar Holding and the state investment fund of Norway is seen as even more significant as it reflects the quality upgrade of investors approaching Greece now that the country is regaining its lost credibility.

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