National Bank of Greece’s share capital increase was completed with great success on Thursday with the price of the new shares amounting to 2.20 euros, or 124 percent of the bank’s accounting value.
Among those participating in the increase were some of the world’s biggest investors – among them BlackRock, Pimco, York Capital, Fidelity, Norges Bank, George Soros and the state authority of Abu Dhabi – once again confirming the definitive return of the country and its companies to the international markets.
The National Bank board convened on Thursday afternoon and sources say that chief executive Alexandros Tourkolias expressed satisfaction with the quality of investors who took part in the process as well as the high demand. The share issue was oversubscribed more than twice, with all shares sold to foreign investors.
The valuation of 124 percent is higher than that of the increases that the country’s other systemic banks have performed, reflecting the constant improvement in conditions and demand, leading to ever higher valuation levels.
The extraordinary general meeting of the bank’s shareholders is scheduled to take place on Saturday for approval of both the increase and the share price. After the completion of the increase National will have taken a major step toward its disengagement from the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF). With the issue of the new shares the stake of the bank bailout fund is to shrink from 84 to 57 percent.
What National achieves with the increase is the rise of the private sector’s stake in the bank’s share capital as the process will increase the dispersion of shares, an improvement in the lender’s funding capacity, facilitating future access to the markets on improved terms, and a stronger position in supporting the recovery of the Greek economy.