Alpha picks Davidson Kempner for Galaxy bad-loans portfolio

Alpha picks Davidson Kempner for Galaxy bad-loans portfolio

Alpha Bank has selected US investment fund Davidson Kempner as its preferred bidder to buy a $12 billion portfolio of nonperforming loans in what will be Greece’s largest ever sale of bad debt, sources told Reuters.

The portfolio, known as Galaxy Project and worth 10.8 billion euros, also includes the disposal of Alpha’s bad loan servicing unit, Cepal.

Davidson Kempner has valued the assets at about €290 million, trumping a rival offer by US investment giant Pacific Investment Management Company (Pimco), one of the sources said.

The sale, which is expected to be finalized by the end of 2020, is the most significant attempt by a Greek bank to clean up its balance sheet amid fears that the proportion of soured loans to businesses and individuals will surge as a consequence of the Covid-19 crisis.

The sale of the Galaxy portfolio is expected to reduce Alpha’s nonperforming exposure (NPE) ratio to 24% from around 43% and its NPL ratio down to 13% from 30%, a banking source familiar with the deal said.

Alpha launched the process early this year, drawing initial interest from a series of bidders including Italian firms Cerved and Credito Fondiario, the sources said. But only Davidson Kempner and Pimco made binding offers and advanced to the final stages of the auction, with Alpha’s board selecting Davidson Kempner as its preferred bidder after a board meeting on Friday.

Cepal, with a headcount of about 900, will be servicing the portfolio of bad loans that Davidson Kempner is expected to buy, in addition to non-performing loans of other parties. It currently services a little under €30 billion of impaired loans. [Reuters]

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