Gov’t will not wait for Postal Savings suitor much longer

The government will decide this week whether it will call a tender for a significant stake in its Postal Savings Bank as time runs out for a prospective bidder, a source close to the deal said yesterday. «I think the (finance) minister will not wait for the Engineers Pension Fund (TSMEDE) in the event he does not receive an answer regarding Postal Savings Bank,» the source told Reuters. «If they do not put in an offer or request a delay or give a negative answer, then the ministry will go ahead with a tender for the sale of Postal Savings within the week.» Postal Savings is considered an attractive target for Greece’s major banks due to its 9-billion-euro pool of deposits and an extensive national network that makes use of post office outlets in addition to its own branches. TSMEDE, the principal stakeholder in Bank of Attica, has already used up the time given to it by the ministry to decide whether it wants to make a bid for 34 percent of state-controlled Postal Savings. The source said it could not rule out the fund coming up with a definite offer by tomorrow and submitting it to the ministry. In the summer, the government said it had started talks with TSMEDE on the sale of a stake in Postal Savings with the goal of merging it with Bank of Attica and subsequently listing the merged entity on the Athens bourse. The State indirectly controls the majority of Attica, which has a market capitalization of 384 million euros. Attica shares lost 3.07 percent to 4.42 euros yesterday, underperforming the broader market which was rose 0.10 percent.