By Yiannis Papadoyiannis
Two to three Greek banks are expected on Friday to submit bids for the healthy side of Hellenic Postbank (TT), as the European Commission has set January 4 as the deadline for submissions of offers for the state-owned lender that has a big sum of deposits from household clients.
Kathimerini understands that National, Alpha and Attica Bank have obtained the file with TT’s financial data and are considering tabling offers to the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF). Piraeus Bank has decided against taking part in the bidding as it is engaged in the hard task of incorporating ATEbank and Geniki Bank into its group.
Analysts say there is a possibility that National may not table a bid after all, as it will first have to submit a report to the Capital Market Commission regarding its public offer to Eurobank shareholders. On the other hand, it is very likely that Alpha and Attica will submit bids for the healthy part of TT.
The TT transfer will be conducted along the lines of the ATEbank sale. The Bank of Greece has invited banks to participate in the process for the acquisition of the healthy side of the lender, while the so-called “bad side” of the bank – i.e. its bad loans portfolio – will be cleared out by BoG. A foreign investment firm was commissioned to look into possible interest abroad, too. All bids made until Friday will be forwarded to the European Commission for assessment. By January 15, the HFSF is expected to have announced which offer will be accepted and then BoG will proceed to the breakup of TT into two parts.
However, bank officials have not ruled out the possibility of an extension to the process so as to facilitate the participation of National Bank as well. They say that once the bureaucratic procedures of the public offer for Eurobank are completed, National will be able to take part in the tender for TT, thereby strengthening competition.
According to a recent BoG report, the recapitalization of TT would require 3.7 billion euros, as the debt restructuring last March (PSI) dealt a serious blow to the lender’s capital base, resulting in losses of 3.4 billion euros.