ECONOMY

Athens to take tough line on Eurobank sale

Greece’s bank bailout fund wants the main investors in a share sale by Eurobank to commit to holding their stakes for a fixed period and will not accept an “excessive discount” to get the deal done, a source familiar with the fund’s position has said.

Eurobank became 95 percent-owned by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) after it failed to attract private investment over the summer.

It plans to issue 2 billion euros’ worth of new shares to boost its capital and attract significant private ownership by March 2014.

Shares in an index of Greece’s five largest banks have risen by 28.2 percent in the last three months, according to data from Thomson Reuters, improving Eurobank’s chances of getting the deal done and encouraging the HFSF to take a firm line on the terms.

International investors are warming to official forecasts that Greece will return to growth in 2014 after five straight years of recession.

When the Eurobank share sale was announced, the HFSF said it wanted to attract “anchor investors.”

The source told Reuters that while there had been a lot of interest, no banks were in the frame as bidders, leaving the field largely to private equity investors, hedge funds and institutions.

[Reuters]