Eurobank secures Proton, awaits decision on TT

Eurobank landed on Friday the healthy part of Proton Bank though it will have to wait another day for a verdict on whether it has also secured the rich deposit portfolio of Hellenic Postbank (TT).

The Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), which controls 93.5 percent of Eurobank and 100 percent of TT, confirmed yesterday that the new Proton Bank will be absorbed by Eurobank. An agreement is expected to be signed on Monday. The decision on which of the country’s four systemic banks will acquire TT is likely to be announced on Saturday.

“The fund has completed the tender process for the sale of the New Proton Bank and has decided to proceed with its sale to Eurobank. The HFSF and Eurobank will work together to sign a binding agreement on Monday, July 15. The tender also included the participation of financial investors, but only Eurobank tabled a binding offer that was compatible with the conditions of the tender,” HFSF said in a statement on Friday.

Sources said that US-based Monarch Investment and Management Group also submitted an offer, but it was deemed non-competitive.

The postponement of HFSF’s decision on TT from Friday to Saturday illustrates the difficulties the selection process has come up against, with the fund’s president, Christina Sakellariou, asking earlier in the week for the process to be cancelled. Fund members speak of legal problems in the procedure, but there is strong pressure for fast decision-making given that the transfer of both TT and Proton are prior actions required for the disbursement of the next tranche of bailout funding to Athens. Some observers, however, believe that the decision may be postponed again.

The aim of the authorities is for TT’s branches to open on Monday under their new owner.

Eurobank is seen as the favorite among Greece’s creditors as well, according to sources.

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