Standard Chartered eyes Piraeus Bank?s Egypt unit

Standard Chartered is considering buying Piraeus Bank?s Egyptian subsidiary, a deal that would boost the Greek bank as it seeks to strengthen its balance sheet in light of the downturn facing debt-laden Greece.

?The due diligence will start in the coming days. There will be a relative strengthening of core Tier 1, which was at 10.8 percent at the end of March,? a Piraeus Bank official said on Friday.

Piraeus Bank Egypt had equity capital of 103 million euros, a 737-million-euro loan book, assets totaling 1.38 billion euros and 48 branches at the end of March.

Standard Chartered said it did not expect a material financial impact in any deal. Piraeus Bank said in a statement that a request had been submitted to the Central Bank of Egypt so that due diligence could commence, but that there was no certainty as to whether any agreement would be reached.

The discussions between the parties are also focused on a wider strategic relationship in the areas of trade finance, payments and project finance, Piraeus Bank said.