Bourse stake on the block

The Greek government said yesterday it plans to sell its 33.3 percent stake in Hellenic Exchanges to its bank shareholders in a move likely to raise about 90 million euros for the state coffers. The full privatization of Hellenic Exchanges underlined the momentum that has built up in recent weeks with the sale of a 16.65 percent share in oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum for about 330 million euros. Greece is aiming to raise 3 billion euros this year, equivalent to 2 percent of gross domestic product, from the sale of state-owned assets to reduce public debt, among the highest in the eurozone. The shares will be priced at 3.75 euros each, representing a 30.66 percent premium from Hellenic Exchanges’ average closing price over the last six months. The holding company owns the Athens stock and futures markets. The equity will be transferred over to the seven banks that hold a combined stake of 26 percent in Hellenic Exchanges in the next 15 days, the Finance Ministry said. The banks – National, Alpha, Eurobank, Emporiki, Piraeus, Agricultural and the Postal Savings Bank – will then offer the stock to Hellenic Exchanges shareholders. In early March, the banks said they plan to acquire a 14 percent stake, with the remaining 19 percent to be privately placed among other Hellenic Exchanges shareholders. OPAP, the lottery and soccer pool company, is the next slated for disposal, with the government planning to sell up to 24.6 percent. A road show is planned in the coming weeks.

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