EFG Eurobank Ergasias has been named Greek «Bank of the Year 2004» for a third time running by The Banker magazine, which is published by the Financial Times group, the bank said in a statement. Banc Post, Eurobank’s Romanian subsidiary, received – for the first time – the same distinction for the Balkan country. The Banker awards the distinctions annually to the most successful and efficient banking institution in every country covered, Eurobank said. The award, received during a special ceremony in London by David Watson, head of Eurobank’s international operations, was accompanied by the following statement: «In a developing banking market, Eurobank is one of the fastest-growing banking institutions, with a proven ability in securing high profitability and a leading place in key sectors of the market, such as consumer credit, the capital market and fund management. Eurobank has also achieved marked progress as regards its activities in neighboring countries, having acquired in 2003 control of banks in Bulgaria (Post Bank), Romania (Banc Post) and Serbia.» Nikolaos Nanopoulos, CEO, told The Banker that Eurobank has developed a client-oriented operational model, focused on the provision of high-quality services, continuous adjustment to the fast-changing environment, effective cost control and development of human resources. The criteria used by The Banker in selecting banks of the year include their rates of growth, return on equity, capital adequacy and quality of assets, and technological infrastructure gains in market share. The relevant considerations also include the efficiency of a bank’s strategy and organization as regards its ability to continue growing in future. Particular emphasis was given this year to the consideration of policy as regards human-resource management and to the assessment of its contribution to the bank’s success, said Eurobank. Share sale In a separate press statement yesterday, Eurobank announced the sale of 1 million of its own shares through the Athens Stock Exchange to an institutional investor which reports said is a member of the group, at a minimum price of 17.84 euros per share. The shares represent about 0.3 percent of the bank’s equity, with foreign investors already controlling – before the sale – more than 22 percent. The group posted a 54 percent rise in net profit after tax and minorities for the first half of the year to 178.9 million euros. EFG Eurobank Ergasias is Greece’s third largest by market share and its total number of branches in SE Europe is about 290. Separately, a Reuters report from London said EFG Hellas Plc had offered a 750-million-euro floating rate note due September 2009, according to lead managers Barclays, JP Morgan and UBS. «The deal pays a coupon of three-month Euribor plus 25 basis points. It has an issue and reoffer price of 99.762. The issuer is guaranteed by EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA, which is rated A2 by Moody’s, BBB+ by Standard & Poor’s, and A- by Fitch,» Reuters said.