ECONOMY

Piraeus to push for Marfin acquisition

A Piraeus Bank delegation, headed by President and CEO Michalis Sallas, will today and tomorrow promote in Cyprus the bank’s proposal to acquire Marfin Popular Bank (MPB), while today MPB is holding the scheduled meeting of its governing board in Nicosia. Officials from Piraeus Bank have expressed the group’s determination to move dynamically for the acquisition of MPB. Analysts consider the submission of an improved proposal very likely, although Piraeus sources categorically deny that. The current stock value of MPB is almost double Piraeus Bank’s offer. Piraeus, Greece’s fourth-largest lender, will also seek shareholder approval next month for a capital increase to take over MPB, the lender said yesterday. Piraeus called for an extraordinary shareholder meeting to be held on February 12, the bank said in a statement. Piraeus Bank has made an offer for at least 40 percent of MPB and is offering one of its shares for every 5.7 shares of MPB, valuing Marfin Popular at about half its market value of 6.5 billion euros. Piraeus Bank has said a merger with MPB would create the second-largest banking group in Greece, giving rise to significant synergies, boosting deposits and loans and taking the combined network to 820 branches. Dubai Investment Group, whose Dubai Financial unit holds a 17 percent stake in MPB, on Friday rejected Piraeus Bank’s offer to take over Marfin Popular. (Kathimerini, Reuters)