BUSINESS

National clears sale of Ethniki to Calamos-Exin

TAGS: Banking, Business

The board of Greece’s National Bank (NBG) approved the sale of a majority stake in the group’s wholly owned insurance subsidiary Ethniki to American-Dutch consortium Calamos-Exin, a banker close to the deal told Reuters on Tuesday.

NBG is selling the unit as part of a restructuring plan approved by the European Union to exit non-banking operations and focus on core banking.

“The board gave its green light to the sale,” the banker said.

He did not disclose details of the agreed sale price or other terms. Details are expected to be announced at the bank’s annual meeting on Friday.

US-based Calamos Investments, which has $20 billion under management, and Exin Partners, a Netherlands-based investor focused on insurance, reinsurance and asset management, were bidding for at least 75 percent of Ethniki Insurance.

Calamos-Exin was competing against three interested Chinese groups: Fosun, Shanghai-based Gongbao and Wintime.

Founded in 1891, Ethniki Insurance is Greece’s oldest insurer and provides life and non-life insurance products.

The company had a 16.6 percent share of the market last year and 2015 net profit of 98 million euros.

Calamos Investments CEO John Koudounis told Reuters last month Calamos-Exin had put forward a hard-to-match bid but did not provide details. He said other Greek-American investors interested in Greece were watching closely.

National Bank, which is 40 percent owned by Greece’s HFSF bank rescue fund, will seek shareholder approval for the sale at Friday’s annual meeting.

[Reuters]

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