ECONOMY

Pension fund considering stake in TT

Greece’s largest social security fund, IKA, is eyeing the acquisition of a strategic stake in state-controlled Hellenic Postbank (TT), according to sources. A medium-term investment in TT’s shares would prove profitable for the fund plus IKA would be able to exercise better control over its pharmaceutical expenses by paying them through the bank, a source said. The possible size of the TT stake was not clear. Shares in TT, 44 percent-held by the government, have lost 60 percent so far this year, outperforming a 76 percent slide in the banking index. In July, Greece sold a 20 percent stake in the lender to foreign institutional investors at 18.10 euros per share as part of its privatization program. The stocks ended at 4.88 euros yesterday, gaining 2.52 percent for the day. A possible deal between the two sides is also seen benefiting TT, providing the lender with a strategic investor during the current crisis and an additional customer that has some 15,000 accounts of pharmacists paid by the fund. The large drop in stock prices has fueled speculation of similiar deals taking place between Greece’s other pension funds and state-controlled companies such as ATEbank and National Bank, over a three-year period.