National to absorb Ethniki Kefalaiou

NBG looks set to boost its assets by 400 mln euros and its capital adequacy ratio by 70 basis points By Yiannis Papadoyiannis

National Bank of Greece is proceeding with the absorption of its corporate management subsidiary Ethniki Kefalaiou, as Kathimerini understands that the decision has already been approved at all corporate levels and will be immediately enforced.

The subsidiary is being absorbed in order to bolster the lender’s capital in the context of National’s general restructuring policy. Ethniki Kefalaiou’s assets amount to 400 million euros and according to analysts its absorption could have a favorable impact on National’s asset index to the tune of 70 basis points. Therefore, from 15.4 percent at the end of March, it could exceed 16 percent once the subsidiary has been absorbed.

Ethniki Kefalaiou was founded in 1991 and is active in the sectors of corporate and asset management and liquidation, management and sale of real estate, among others. It boasts excellent know-how and has a dominant position in the liquidations domain while judicial decisions have seen it appointed the special administrator for the liquidation of significant special status enterprises. For instance, in October 2009, Ethniki Kefalaiou was appointed to liquidate the companies of the Olympic Airways group.

Ethniki Kefalaiou’s absorption forms part of the plan to rationalize the group and bolster the bank’s capital. Chief executive officer Alexandros Tourkolias told the bank’s general shareholders meeting last Thursday that according to the management’s plan the capital adequacy ratio (Core Tier 1) will soon approach 18 percent, in that sense placing National among Europe’s strongest banks.

Just two years ago National had been in a negative net position, mainly owing to the PSI bond restructuring. The two share capital increases of 1.1 billion euros in June 2013 and 2.5 billion euros recently, combined with other moves by the management, such as the sale of the Pangaia real estate company and the Astir Palace Resort, have reinstated the group’s capital adequacy to very high levels.

In terms of cash flow the group is in an excellent position: “We remain the sole bank in the country with a loan-to-deposits ratio below 100 percent, at 93 percent,” Tourkolias told shareholders.