ECONOMY

Marfin Popular Bank also bids for Bank of Cyprus

Marfin Popular Bank (MPB), in a surprise move, tabled an offer for the acquisition of the Bank of Cyprus yesterday with the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE), further complicating the bank-buyout saga in Greece and Cyprus that also involves Piraeus Bank. The governing board of CSE must examine whether all public proposals (Piraeus for MPB, MPB for Piraeus and MPB for Bank of Cyprus) can continue simultaneously according to capital market rules. Cyprus’s Capital Market Commission registered an appeal yesterday on the decision of the Supreme Court of Cyprus, which ruled that it was not the commission’s jurisdiction to examine whether MPB had violated Article 21 of the stock market legislation with its proposal to acquire Piraeus Bank. The Cypriot court’s decision also invoked the reaction of the Greek Capital Market Commission, which sent a letter to CSE asking whether MPB is allowed by the regulations to submit an offer to Piraeus Bank shareholders. Piraeus announced that within the context of its acquisition proposal for MPB, it will supply all relevant data requested by CSE so that its approval procedure is completed. The bank also stated it had decided to proceed as normal with the offer despite the court’s ruling, as it does not touch on the commission’s decision that it was Piraeus to table a bid first. MPB made no comment on the court’s ruling, although sources suggested that the decision reinstates order in the case.