ECONOMY

Alpha Bank proceeds in hope with its share capital increase

The countdown to the share capital increase of the healthiest among the country’s systemic lenders has started as a general meeting of Alpha Bank shareholders approved on Tuesday the process in the context of the sector’s recapitalization.

Yiannis Costopoulos, chairman and chief executive of Alpha, invited shareholders to take part in the capital increase to preserve the bank’s private character. He explained that the success of the procedure is of key importance for Alpha as well as for the sector as a whole.

Some 29 percent of shareholders participated in yesterday’s general meeting, approving the lender’s share capital increase amounting to 4.57 billion euros. The meeting also gave the green light for a reverse split of the bank’s shares if that is deemed useful.

Bank officials stressed that Alpha is making the most of its positive net position that exceeds 2 billion euros, as well as the fact that it has the lowest capital requirements among the systemic banks. “The shareholders who partake in the share capital increase will benefit not only from the net position, but also from the synergies to emerge with Emporiki Bank, estimated at over 250 million euros per year,” an official said.

With the completion of the recapitalization, the official added, Alpha will have a basic asset index (CT1) of at least 8 billion euros and will be the best capitalized lender among the four main banks in the country, with sufficient capital reserves to cover future risks.

Alpha is seeking to cover all of its capital requirements through the issue of common shares, with private investors having to cover a minimum of 10 percent, i.e. 457 million euros, while in the case of excessive demand the bank could issue additional shares worth 93 million euros.

The Capital Market Commission will have to issue its approval by the end of April and the period of the exercise of rights is expected to start after Easter, which is on May 5.

Meanwhile Probank, one of the smaller Greek lenders that may be a target for absorption by the systemic ones, announced on Tuesday it had suffered losses of 18 million euros in 2012, with provisions at 75 million euros for the group and 68 million for the bank itself.