Marfin says no bid for Emporiki

Greek financial services group Marfin said yesterday it would not pursue the acquisition of Emporiki Bank, the target of bids by France’s Credit Agricole and Bank of Cyprus. «We are not in a position to submit a competitive offer (for Emporiki) at these levels,» Marfin’s Vice Chairman Andreas Vgenopoulos told analysts in a conference call. The group, 31.5 percent-owned by Dubai Financial, had been mentioned in the Greek press as a potential suitor for Emporiki. Vgenopoulos said Marfin had been prompted to consider an offer for Emporiki after Credit Agricole’s «low offer at 23.50 euros a share.» But when Bank of Cyprus made a cash-and-stock counter offer, which Marfin said is «a bid in excess of 30 euros a share,» the group concluded that it was not in a position to go after Emporiki. BoC is offering 3.25 of its own shares plus 6 euros in cash for every Emporiki share. Both tender offers have set a minimum 40 percent acceptance threshold. Greece’s securities regulator has set a July 25 deadline for any counter offers. Vgenopoulos said Marfin would be open to talks with Emporiki’s new owner on buying some of Emporiki’s overlapping branches at competitive terms. He also said Marfin owned about 1.9 percent of Piraeus Bank, which would not be raised above 2 percent. «The position in Piraeus Bank was taken for trading and not for strategic reasons,» he said.