Emporiki Bank has had an historic year in 2005, CEO Giorgos Provopoulos said yesterday, adding that from early next year the privatization process will begin since the social insurance problem has been resolved. «This issue is virtually overcome, as there remain only the calculation of the actuarial deficit by an independent body appointed by the state and the issuing of the presidential decree for the single bank employees social security fund,» he said. He noted that the positive response to the share capital increase shows the trust investors have in the future prospects of the bank: «Now the participation by foreign institutionals has increased to 20 percent from 5 percent 18 months ago,» he stressed. After the completion of the increase, the capital adequacy index went to over 10 percent. Provopoulos further mentioned the absorption of tens of subsidiaries that weighed in the group and staff cuts of about 900 people. «In the third quarter, we have an acceleration in our revenue increase and in 2006 I expect our market shares to increase,» he predicted. He also said procedures for the sale of the state’s stake will begin immediately, adding that besides the 9 percent DEKA owns in the bank, the state could also sell another 10 percent owned by funds to facilitate the entry of a strategic investor. «Anything is possible, the sale of Credit Agricole’s stake, full privatization, or even acquisition by a local bank,» he argued.