Egnatia to absorb Marfin

The merger of Marfin Bank, Laiki Hellas and Egnatia Bank will get under way following the decision of the three banks’ boards of directors, Marfin Financial Group said late on Thursday. Egnatia Bank will absorb Marfin and Laiki, subsidiaries of Marfin Financial Group and Cyprus’s Laiki Bank respectively. Completion of the merger is subject to regulatory approval as well as to the approval of shareholders, which is expected in the first quarter of 2007. The merger will result in a new bank with assets of about 8.2 billion euros and a network of 140 branches. «The new bank that will result will have the critical mass required for it to be competitive and considerably profitable within the Greek banking system,» Marfin Vice Chairman and CEO Andreas Vgenopoulos said in a statement. The merger is subject to regulatory and shareholders approval. Marfin Financial Group, 31.5 percent-owned by Dubai Financial, has a 10.01 percent stake in Cyprus’s Laiki and a 40.6 percent stake in Egnatia. (Reuters)