CA may bid for other Greek bank

Credit Agricole (CA) stands ready to acquire another Greek bank if its current 3.1-billion-euro bid for Emporiki fails, a senior official at France’s largest retail bank said yesterday. «My bank will remain interested in acquisitions in Greece even if our bid for Emporiki is not considered favorable,» Credit Agricole Deputy General Manager Christian Jacques told Greek financial daily Naftemporiki. He also told the paper the group stands by its current offer for Emporiki, despite a higher rival bid by Bank of Cyprus. Bank of Cyprus has offered 3.25 of its own shares plus 6 euros in cash for every Emporiki share, a bid valued at 29.70 euros based on Tuesday’s market prices, above Credit Agricole’s 23.50 euros per share all-cash offer. Jacques insisted that Emporiki shareholders would view CA’s all-cash bid as more credible and transparent. Separately, the Capital Market Commission (CMC) approved Bank of Cyprus’s tender offer prospectus for Emporiki and said the shareholders of Greece’s fourth-largest lender have until August 7 to decide. Credit Agricole’s bid got the Greek regulator’s green light last week. Emporiki shareholders will also have until August 7 to decide on the French bank’s offer, CMC said. Separately, Credit Agricole said it would not bid for British bank Alliance & Leicester. (Reuters)