ECONOMY

National, Eurobank pull out of TT tender ahead of merger

Eurobank Ergasias shareholders have until February 15 to respond to the takeover proposal by National Bank, after the latter submitted its public offer to the stock market on Friday, while both lenders, as well as Alpha Bank, pulled out of the tender for Hellenic Postbank (TT), whose fate will be announced next week.

National’s public proposal provides for Eurobank shareholders to receive 58 new National shares for every 100 Eurobank shares. The acceptance period, which began on Friday, lasts five weeks but a positive response is all but certain as the stakeholders of 44.75 percent of Eurobank have already committed to consenting.

The timetable provides for an announcement by February 18 and for the share exchange to be completed by February 27, so that the new shares can start trading on the local bourse. The merger of the two banks will be completed by June, officials from both lenders say.

Synergies will include the shutdown of 20 percent of the combined network of 915 branches in Greece and of 25 percent of the 1,080 branches abroad. National promises to make a major effort to ensure that the changes in employment terms for the staff have the least possible social impact.

Meanwhile, the tender for the sale of the healthy side of Hellenic Postbank had received no binding bids by yesterday’s deadline and the government will next week announce its plan for the troubled lender’s future.

In collaboration with the Bank of Greece and the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), the Finance Ministry will proceed to splitting TT into “good” and “bad” parts, as planned. However the final decision will only be known next week, following a demand for a revision of the strategic plan of the so-called good bank submitted by the country’s creditors.

The ministry has opted for HFSF taking charge of TT on a temporary basis, probably a few months. The fund will proceed to changes on the TT board, appointing Haris Siganos to the top of its management pyramid.

According to HFSF sources, a new tender for the sale of TT will come within the first half of the year.