Banks sell 26.4 pct of HELEX

The group of banks that acquired additional shares in Hellenic Exchanges (HELEX) last month will place 26.4 percent of the bourse operator with shareholders, a company source said yesterday. The State last month sold its remaining 33.4 percent in Hellenic Exchanges to seven Greek banks for about 90 million euros as part of this year’s 3-billion-euro state asset disposal program. «The banks will keep 4.97 million shares [about 6.9 percent] and offer 18.78 million shares [26.4 percent] to other shareholders,» the source said. Previous reports said the banks would hold on to 14 percent and privately place the remaining 19 percent. The banks, which already own an estimated 21 percent stake in the bourse operator, could not be immediately reached for comment. The Capital Market Commission on Tuesday approved the prospectus for the shares to be offered to other shareholders, namely brokerages, pension funds and retail investors. A senior banker earlier this month told Reuters the shares would be privately placed in September at 3.75 euros per share, the price paid by the banks to the State. Shares of Hellenic Exchanges have posted strong gains since the State announced the sale of its stake. The stock yesterday closed 1.64 percent higher to 6.18 euros. The bourse operator expects sharply higher first-half and full-year earnings as a market recovery takes hold, a source from the company told Reuters early this month. National Bank, Alpha Bank, EFG Eurobank, Piraeus Bank, Commercial Bank, Agricultural Bank and unlisted Post Savings Bank made up the group. (Reuters)