ECONOMY

EBRD ‘sure’ to play some role in Greek banks

ebrd-sure-to-play-some-role-in-greek-banks

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is likely to play some role in getting Greek banks back on their feet if the eurozone’s third rescue deal for the country holds, one of the bank’s top officials said on Tuesday.

Peter Sanfey, the EBRD’s acting director of country strategy and policy, told Reuters it was a relief that Greece looked to be staying in the euro and that would hopefully clear the way for the bank’s first projects in the country.

“We would very much like to support this,” said Sanfey, who was in Greece last week.

“We will try to be involved where we are needed and where we can provide value.”

As part of Greece’s aid deal, 50 billion euros’ worth of state assets – including recapitalized banks – are to be put into a trust fund beyond the government’s reach, to be sold off primarily to pay down the nation’s massive debts.

Sanfey said areas like logistics, agriculture and tourism were all potential areas of investment for the EBRD, but for many eurozone watchers it will be any involvement in the country’s troubled banks that will be of most interest.

The EBRD took a 5 percent stake in Bank of Cyprus last year as part of a 1-billion-euro capital-raising drive and the question is whether the EBRD does a similar thing in Greece.

“I’m sure we will play some sort of role [in the banks],” Sanfey said, adding it was still waiting and watching.

“We have the stake with Bank of Cyprus, so we certainly know what we are doing.”

[Reuters]