ECONOMY

Alpha has bid for Emporiki Bank

Alpha Bank confirmed on Tuesday that it has made a bid for the acquisition of rival Emporiki, in response to a question by the Capital Market Commission, showing that Alpha, National and Eurobank are going to fight a fierce battle for the French-owned lender.

The confirmation followed a press report on Tuesday that Alpha had already reached a deal with Emporiki?s owner Credit Agricole, which Alpha rushed to deny. National and Eurobank are expected to table their bids for Emporiki soon.

What makes Emporiki such an attractive target for acquisition, especially after ATEbank?s absorption by Piraeus, is the insistence of the Bank of Greece for Emporiki?s recapitalization before its sale to another credit institution.

The market also expects Credit Agricole to further bolster Emporiki with fresh funds. Analysts say that any of the three suitors to request the smallest capital boost will have the edge for the acquisition, although the final say rests with the Hellenic Financial Stability Facility, which is now the biggest shareholder of the banks.