Offers for the sale of Hellenic Postbank (TT) are expected to be submitted on Tuesday as the data room procedure is ending and the domestic systemic groups are set to table their offers and business plans for the state-owned lender’s utilization.
The issue was discussed in a meeting between the representatives of the country’s creditors, the leadership of the Finance Ministry and the governor of the Bank of Greece, which was dominated by the topic of future plans for the local banking system after the completion of its recapitalization.
The troika of inspectors from the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund reiterated their serious reservations regarding the plan to merge National Bank and Eurobank Ergasias and insisted on their position for the privatization plan of Eurobank to move ahead immediately so that a 20-30 percent stake can be sold in September.
In fact it is Eurobank that has the edge in the race to land TT, as the troika believes that such a scenario would facilitate Eurobank’s privatization, which is considered a priority. TT would constitute a strong asset and offer added value to the Eurobank group, which has been recapitalized exclusively by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) to the tune of 5.8 billion euros.
However, that is by no means a foregone conclusion as neither National nor Alpha have expressed their intention to fight for TT on equal terms. That is not to say that local groups exclusively have an interest in Postbank, as sources say that two major funds from abroad have already signed confidentiality agreements for access to financial data. The same sources point to the Qatar investment fund and the US investment fund Oaktree, whose presence boosts the competition for TT. Notably Qatar is among the main stakeholders in Alpha Bank, although it is not clear whether its entry in the tender will be via its Alpha stake.
TT is a prized asset because of its high liquidity thanks to its strong deposit base of 11 billion euros. With its loan portfolio at 7 billion euros, TT has one of the strongest loans to deposits ratios, which does not exceed 60 percent.