US-Israeli fund to acquire stake in NBG subsidiary firm Pangaia

National Bank of Greece is just a step away from announcing a strategic agreement with a major US-Israeli fund that could reach as much as 1 billion euros.

Kathimerini understands that the deal between the two sides has been completed and submitted to the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), the European Commission and other institutional authorities for approval before it is officially announced.

The formal announcement is expected in the next few days, with the deal providing for the transfer of more than 50 percent of National’s property management subsidiary, Pangaia, to the US-Israeli fund, though the Greek lender will retain the management and control of the company. This comes as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and several key ministers are in Israel promoting political and economic relations between the two countries.

Once completed, the agreement will constitute a major foreign investment and signify a vote of confidence not only in National but also in the local economy and the country’s prospects. With this transaction NBG will decisively bolster its capital base, while keeping Pangaia in its group as it will retain its control.

Sources say that according to the deal National will also add to Pangaia’s assets (worth 1 billion euros in the first half of the year) a number of the group’s properties, in order to bolster the Pangaia portfolio.

The aim of the NBG management with this move is to raise its capital adequacy index to 10 percent, from 9.2 percent in the first half of the year. The group’s plans, after the successful completion of its recapitalization earlier this year, also include the sale of Astir Palace hotel in Vouliagmeni, southern Attica, (which is already in progress and has attracted significant investment interest), of Ethniki Insurance, etc. It will retain control of its Turkish subsidiary, Finansbank, which accounts for over 70 percent of its operations abroad, but will disengage itself from most other countries in Southeastern Europe.

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