BUSINESS

Calamos-Exin to land Ethniki Insurance

EVGENIA TZORTZI

TAGS: Business, Banking

The Greek-American consortium Calamos-Exin Group has been selected as the preferred bidder for the sale of Ethniki Insurance, a National Bank of Greek subsidiary, in the context of the tender that according to sources is nearing its conclusion.

Although there were no official statements after the end of the NBG board meeting last Friday, sources say that the issue has been settled and it is only some minor details in the agreement that are left to be ironed out, such as the question of selling bancassurance products via the NBG network.

Friday’s meeting examined three bids, by the Exin Group, and by the Chinese Fosun and Gongbao groups. The Greek-American consortium is said to have emerged victorious having submitted the best offer. This is said to have amounted to between 700 and 750 million euros, concerning a 75 percent stake in Ethniki Insurance. Ethniki is Greece’s biggest insurer with an 18 percent market share.

The preferred bid includes the repayment of a 50-million-euro perpetual bond that NBG had issued for its insurance arm. The contract to be signed with Calamos-Exin will further include a bankassurance deal for 10 years, with an option for a five-year extension.

The process for the sale of Ethniki began last November, forming part of National’s restructuring plan submitted to the European Central Bank. At this stage the plan does not include the subsidiary in Cyprus or the activity in Romania.

Given that the winning bidder has been selected, the Ethniki executive board is expected to sign the seller’s warranty today and the final announcements are expected within the week or next week at the latest, with the signing of the provisional agreement between the two sides.

On the bank’s side, which as the shareholder is the seller, it remains to be determined whether it will require a new meeting of its governing board or the issue of Ethniki will form part of the agenda of the scheduled annual general meeting of shareholders, expected to take place at the end of this month.

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