ECONOMY

Proton ends Piraeus deal; shares rise

Shares in Proton Bank advanced 0.79 percent yesterday, bucking steep losses on the broader market, after news it had agreed to cancel a share-swap agreement with Piraeus Bank due its participation in a government rescue plan. Proton Bank shares ended at 1.28 euros while the Athens Exchange’s benchmark general index tumbled 5.51 percent under the weight of sliding banks. «Piraeus Bank’s board announces it has accepted Proton Bank’s request… and signed an agreement to cancel the buyout agreement,» Piraeus Bank said in a bourse filing. Last week, Piraeus, Greece’s fourth-largest lender, said it had reached an agreement with Proton’s main shareholders to buy a 26.98 percent stake in the small lender in a share swap. The deal priced Proton’s shares at a 50 percent discount. «Proton’s board decided to seek to take part in the (government) plan,» Proton said yesterday. «The bank will continue to seek a strategic partner at a more suitable time.» Greece’s largest banks agreed to a 28-billion-euro rescue plan after the government clarified the terms of the scheme. Banks have been given three months to participate in the plan, in which the state will guarantee capital market loans and buy preferred shares in banks to boost their capital while setting a ceiling on executive pay.