A meeting of the governing board of National Bank of Greece ended late on Thursday without a decision on the sale of its insurance arm, Ethniki, leaving all options open.
The lender’s board has yet to make up its mind on the bid submitted for Greece’s leading insurer by Chinese company Gongbao, which has offered 676 million euros for the 75 percent stake that is to be sold.
The uncertainty is related to the board’s skepticism regarding the Chinese enterprise, which was the only bidder to participate in the final stage of the tender and table a binding offer. However, there are also concerns over the option of starting a fresh sale process, given the heavy investment climate that does not favor the sale.
In this context, sources say the possibility of a new tender remains open, while there is also the option of restarting the existing tender process by issuing fresh invitations to the participants in its first stage. Of course this would not include the Exin consortium as it does not exist anymore.
However, none of the scenarios discussed ensures a positive conclusion, which would be to attract internationally esteemed investors that would offer a high price for Ethniki.