Greece's National Bank prices share offer at 2-2.6 euros

The National Bank of Greece has priced its share offer at 2.00-2.60 euros a share, in a placing worth up to 2.5 billion euros, two sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

“There has been incredibly broad-based demand,” one of the sources said.

NBG, the country’s largest bank by assets, is the fourth lender to tap international markets to plug a capital hole, seizing a window of opportunity to raise funds as foreign investors warm to the debt-laden country’s recovery prospects.

Book building started on Tuesday and will end today, with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley acting as global coordinators and bookrunners, joined by BofA Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, HSBC, UBS and Mediobanca.

NBG, which has a current market value of 6.73 billion euros and is 84 percent-owned by the Greece’s bank bailout fund, the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund, is issuing new shares to cover a 2.18-billion-euro capital shortfall revealed in a central bank stress test in March.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to cover the difference between the identified capital hole in the health check, and planned moves to boost capital by 1.04 billion euros that have been approved by the Bank of Greece.

NBG also plans to buy back 1.35 billion euros of preferred shares from the government.

Its equity offering does not include pre-emption rights for existing shareholders, including the HFSF.

Peers Alpha Bank, Piraeus and Eurobank have already raised 5.81 billion euros between them through similar equity offerings over the past six weeks.