ECONOMY

Piraeus sources report great interest

piraeus-sources-report-great-interest

Foreign investors are said to be showing great interest in the Piraeus Bank share capital increase. Group officials on Thursday expressed optimism that some 1.6 billion euros could be drawn from private investors, which – along with the bond swap offer to holders in exchange for shares adding up to 600 million euros – will cover the capital needs of the baseline stress test scenario of 2.2 billion euros.

The Piraeus book of bids is supposed to close on Friday, but it is possible that the process could be extended into the weekend to allow for more investors. The sale price of the new shares will range at a considerably lower level than the value of the bank’s stock in previous days. The stock’s loss since Monday has come to almost 48 percent.

Piraeus sources told Kathimerini that the interest shown by foreigners is reminiscent of the positive climate during the 2014 capital increases, as investors estimate that after the signing of the third bailout agreement in the summer the political risk has diminished considerably.

Eurobank will be next as it starts its book building on Tuesday, aiming to cover its entire capital requirements – i.e. those stemming from the adverse scenario of the stress tests – amounting to 2.12 billion euros.

Having already proposed a bond swap plan aimed at selling shares worth up to 900 million euros, its aim from the book building process will be far lower than the aforementioned 2.12 billion. Sources say that before the book opens, a group of investors led by main shareholder Fairfax is expected to commit to covering up to 800 million euros.

Alpha is also close to launching its own procedure, with the book building set to start probably at the end of next week. Alpha is hoping to cover its entire needs of 2.7 billion euros, including 1.1 billion euros from its bond swap offer.

As for National, it is expecting a response from the Single Supervisory Mechanism on a revision of its needs following its decision to sell its Turkish subsidiary, Finansbank.