NBG looking but has no target in sight

National Bank, the country’s largest lender, said yesterday it does not have its eye on any specific acquisition targets, leaving open the possibility of a deal taking place in the next year. Earlier this week, National announced a 1.25-billion-euro rights issue to boost its capital and prepare for any takeover deals. National, present in 12 countries, has said it will seek buyout opportunities abroad and not in Greece. «There is nothing specific at this moment. In the next 12 months, there will be opportunities,» National’s CEO Takis Arapoglou told reporters. Like a number of Greek lenders, National has put the brakes on any expansion abroad due to the international financial crisis. In the first quarter of the year, about a third of National’s group net income came from Turkey, with another 12 percent coming from operations in Southeast Europe. Shares in National Bank added 2.33 percent on the Athens bourse yesterday, to 18.01 euros, versus a 0.91 percent advance on the broader market. Separately, National Bank’s board authorized management to retire hybrid bonds to boost core equity. «The board of directors has authorized the management to try and buy as many as possible of the hybrid bonds it has issued,» said Arapoglou.