ECONOMY

Eurobank speeds up absorption of TT ahead of its share increase

Eurobank published on Wednesday its plan for the absorption of the new Hellenic Postbank (TT), which also provides for its incorporation of the new Proton Bank. The plan provides for the legal merger of the two smaller lenders with Eurobank to be completed by the end of November.

The operational merger with Proton, with the full absorption of the bank, is expected by the end of December, while TT – which will continue to operate as a separate entity – will be operationally absorbed (with the unification of its electronic systems) with Eurobank by the end of April 2014 at the latest.

The plan for TT provides for the merging of Postbank’s assets and requirements with Eurobank. Given that all of the new TT shares already belong to Eurobank, there will be no new shares issued in the context of the merger. This means the number of Eurobank’s shares will not change.

The big challenge that Eurobank’s management will then face is the lender’s return to private hands, given that it is now under the full control of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF). The group is planning a share capital increase in the first half of next year.

Christos Megalou, the chief executive of Eurobank, recently described the course of the bank back to the private sector as a “one-way street,” and in a letter to the bank’s staff noted that the new few months will be the most crucial in the lender’s history. After a series of contacts in Greece and abroad, “the messages we have received are very encouraging, with Eurobank regaining access and acceptance… In September and October we conducted meetings in Athens and abroad with many significant international investment firms which showed an interest both in the course of the Greek economy and the prospects of Eurobank,” Megalou wrote in his letter.