BUSINESS

Greece's Attica Bank looks for strategic investor in cash call

Greek lender Attica Bank has hired advisers to look for an investor to take part in a planned equity offering, as it becomes the fifth of the country's banks to tap international markets to plug a capital hole, it said on Tuesday.

Attica will issue new shares to raise about 320 million euros ($436.85 million), more than twice its current market value, to cover a 397 million capital need revealed in a central bank stress test in March.

Attica's bigger rivals, National, Piraeus, Eurobank and Alpha have tapped international investors through equity offerings since March, raising a combined 8.3 billion euros to plug capital holes.

Unlike its peers, Attica is the only Greek bank that has not sought recourse to the country's bank bailout fund - the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund - for its capital needs during the country's debt crisis.

The bank, 51 percent owned by the engineers' pension fund TSMEDE, has hired UBS, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Clayton to find a suitable cornerstone investor, Attica's Chairman Yannis Gamvrilis told reporters.

"The bank will maintain its autonomous course, the main shareholder TSMEDE will support the cash call," he said.

Attica, with assets of 4.0 billion euros and a network of 79 branches, was loss making last year hurt by provisions for non-performing loans which reached 26.6 percent of its loan book. [Reuters]

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