ECONOMY

National to examine all possibilities

National Bank and Eurobank launched increased efforts to preserve their private status in the recapitalization process within a very tight timetable on Tuesday. They must complete the procedure by the end of the month.

National Bank’s executive board will continue the meeting it started in the afternoon, aimed at activating the recapitalization process and convoking a general meeting of shareholders. The purpose of the decision to continue the meeting on Wednesday is for the board members to be better informed about finding private investors to participate in the capital increase and to complete the technical preparations for the mix of new shares and convertible bonds (CoCos) to be used for drawing the necessary funds.

Sources say that the representative of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) on the bank’s board has also asked for additional time in order to examine the situation, following the decision to halt the lender’s merger with Eurobank. According to National officials, the general meeting during which the definitive decisions will be taken has been scheduled for Monday, April 29.

National needs 9.8 billion euros for its recapitalization, but up to 1.8 billion of that could be covered through CoCos, which means that it will need to find 800 million euros (or 10 percent of the increase) from the private sector in order to maintain its private character after the entry of HFSF funds.

Meanwhile the union of National Bank employees expressed its support to the bank’s board and accused the governor of the Bank of Greece, Giorgos Provopoulos, of hampering the participation of current bank shareholders, including social security funds and the Church of Greece, in the capital increase.

Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis confirmed on Tuesday that social security funds are free to decide by themselves whether they will take part in the process, as the government will not intervene.

Eurobank’s board meeting concluded without the bank issuing any statements, likely in anticipation of a statement from National. Its extraordinary general meeting of shareholders, at which the capital increase will be decided, has been scheduled for April 30.